It’s Thursday, Mercury is in retrograde, and our marketing team sat down to discuss our upcoming Summer projects over zoom with clunky yet enthusiastic back and forth. We stumbled into an unsure moment of quippy confusion when discussing the validity of Memorial Day sales, and holiday sales in general. Are they appropriate? Are they necessary? Our answers were far from black and white, and we ended up talking about the different ways Memorial Day is perceived and observed by people all over the nation.
Today, we tend to generally associate Memorial Day with backyard barbeques, flip-flops, maybe some fireworks, and of course, some outstanding sales and absolute bargain prices at all your favorite stores. Fallen soldiers are not necessarily the foregrounded focus in the American way of observing Memorial Day. Instead, we often choose to celebrate with fervor and noise, especially since Memorial Day is a long weekend during which we take the time to slow down and celebrate our lives and the lives of those who came before us. Rather than engage in a day of mourning, which differs from the ways many other countries honor their fallen,–somberly, and with quiet reflection–we go for the barbeque ribs, a day on the beach, or spend time in the warming weather with all of our loved ones close by, in turn celebrating the lives of those who have passed by celebrating our own in the present moment.
Celebration is, after all, a form of engaging with and honoring memory in and of itself,
and joy is a valuable contribution to community and country all on its own.
For this reason, we went ahead and launched our Memorial Day Sale today so that you can celebrate a little bit extra this year with some best-ever deals!
As we hold our own family’s hands,–luckily and with gratitude– we must take it upon ourselves to understand the weight of grief that this culture of violence has ultimately fostered for all the families who lost their loved ones. As responsible citizens and human beings, we must take stock of our surrounding needs and ask ourselves how we plan to protect the children and most vulnerable people in this country on a larger scale.
These questions have no simple answer, of course, as violence and tragedy are often inexplicable. Understanding the depth of such occurrences is often beyond our own scope, but we owe it to the lives of those lost–and to ourselves–to open our hearts and hold space for the massive grief that’s come to the fore for those grieving and living with the reality of what they faced, and for the loss of so many people for years.
Holiday sales and recent tragedies don’t necessarily have much to do with one another, but they do provide a scale of how to spend your time and energy this long weekend. You can grieve and give to others and still give to yourself all the while, whether that be through shopping for your favorite clothes or fostering community space to come together within in the wake of events both good and bad.
Here at XCVI, we encourage you to care for others and for yourself in whatever capacity you can and to take this weekend to honor your loved ones and all the strangers we share a country with, who must now find ways to grieve and celebrate the lives of their closest family members and friends following the events in Texas.
May each and every one of the fallen children and teachers be honored just as much as our soldiers–for their courage, for their light, and for all the life they did live and lost. By facing pain and ugliness we can look it in the eyes and find ways to challenge it, remedy the hurt, and heal as individuals and as a nation. With time and gumption, community and care, we can unite as equal-footed human beings to align with those who need it most, even in our more uncertain times and moments of painful breakdown.
We all need each other–that much is undeniable–and we cannot self-care our way out of the necessity of human support.
This Memorial Day, we encourage you to keep opening your hearts and building your communities full of safe spaces, so that we may arrive on the other side of violence with all the power our love and devotion to one another can create. In this way, we are always honoring those who have passed, working each and every day to ensure that their memories will forever be a blessing, and an ever-present sign of the change and beauty still to come.