Confusion over Memorial Day

I keep seeing exhortations from various sources wishing a Happy Memorial Day to those who have served in the military.  However, such greetings, nice as they may be, seem to miss the point of Memorial Day and, moreover, appear to confuse it with Veteran’s Day.

FILED UNDER: US Politics, ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Robert in SF says:

    Thank you! I had noticed this is some Facebook updates and other blogs. I am glad to see that I wasn’t the only one thinking…isn’t Memorial Day about those lost in battle? I just didn’t correct any of my friends’ well-wishes…since I am sure it could be spun as anti-troops somehow.

  2. John Peabody says:

    People don’t know the difference, it’s all just lumped together. Since the end of the draft, only a tiny fraction of the US knows anything at all about the military. Just forget it. If they don’t know the difference, it sure the he’ll ain’t my job to tell ’em.

  3. Boyd says:

    Fortunately, I don’t get “Happy” Memorial Day very much (I’m not sure how I’d respond if I heard that today), but when I do get well-wishes, I simply respond the lines of “Thanks, but I’m still alive. My day is in November.”

  4. John Peabody says:

    Well said, sir.

  5. Southern Hoosier says:

    Yep people don’t know the difference, just another 3 day federal holiday. Memorial Day is for the dead. Veterans Day is for the living

  6. Nightrider says:

    Also, wasn’t Memorial Day not as widely respected in the South for a long time, since it was a northern creation post Civil War? If so, I guess it is a sign of progress that most in the South have forgotten that.