Learning the true meaning of sacrifice on Memorial Day

Published 10:43 am Wednesday, May 28, 2014

As the number of school days missed due to inclement weather mounted higher and higher in Southampton County earlier this year, it became evident to all that administrators would need to be creative in order to meet the minimum hours of annual instruction required by state law. Most folks came to accept that extended school days, classes on Saturdays, and that any and every possible solution was, and should have been, on the table.

Extended school days were implemented with nary a complaint. Classes held on a Saturday led to minimal grumbling.

But hold classes on Memorial Day? Preposterous!

Public critics of the decision to use Memorial Day as one to make up snow days have complained that, by sending students to school, children couldn’t possibly learn the true meaning of the day and the importance of honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of this nation.

We couldn’t agree less.

Like many state and national holidays, it is right that we honor our fallen heroes by setting aside Memorial Day as a day of remembrance and somber reflection. We just find it difficult to understand how a child learns those lessons better when splashing in the pool or frolicking at the beach than when in their classrooms.

Is it wrong to close schools on Memorial Day to honor the greatest individuals our nation has had to offer? Not at all. Is it a tragedy that a child attends school on that same day instead, in an environment most conducive to learning about those whose deaths occurred so that we today could more freely live? On that note, we also think not.

In fact, what better way to teach a child about the true meaning and value of commitment and sacrifice than by expecting them to do the same when it comes to their own education? We can’t help but feel that many of our fallen heroes would feel the same.