Memorial Day and why it matters

I’m writing this one on Friday because I’m going to take the weekend off and spend Memorial Day with my family reflecting on the good life we have and what it means to me, to my family and to all of us. While we’re doing that, we’re going to spend some time honoring those who are no longer here, and those who made it all possible.

The history of this holiday goes back at least 150 years. It was originally dedicated to those who had fallen in the service of their country. There’s some controversy as to whether it started in the South or in the North. I don’t think that matters much anymore, though. It’s the thought behind it that’s important.

The technical purpose behind Memorial Day is still the same as it was back when it started but over the years its practical purpose has changed. Now it’s mostly about all those who have died before us. That’s OK. It’s important to remember everyone. We should do that. But the fallen soldier idea has merit, too.

This year my family will spend some time reflecting on how good we have it and try to honor, as best we can, those who have made that good life possible. I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately. It’s important. We need to do more of this, individually and as a country.

Maybe I’m getting old and looking at things differently. Or, maybe I’m just beginning to truly appreciate what I have and what we all have. No matter which it is — in truth, it’s probably a little of both — it’s something I find myself thinking about more and more.

I’ve written off and on all spring about my having a tough start this season, about my need to catch more fish and make sure I qualify for the Classic. But when I stop to think about things I realize that’s a lot of bunk. I don’t have it tough at all, fish or no fish. My life is good.

Most of the people in the world would take what I catch and eat it raw, and be glad for it. Heck, they’d feed their family for days with a 20-pound sack. I weigh them and throw them back. That’s an enormous difference. If you want to experience what I’m saying, stop and think that through. Don’t just read the words. Think about what that difference really means.

And so, while I’m sitting around on Monday enjoying a cold drink and a hamburger off the grill with my family and my uncle, we’re all going to take the time to think about things and offer our thanks the best way we know how. It’s not anything close to what some have done but it’s a start.

Next week we’ll get back to catching bass. I have some new ideas about fishing the late postspawn that I want to share. But in the meantime take a few minutes to say thanks to those who made catching bass for fun possible.

Mike Iaconelli's column appears weekly on You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter or visit his website,

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