Reinventing Memorial Day: Remarkable Series in Fast Company


Steve McCallion writes a remarkable series in Fast Company asking "Why has Memorial Day, like so many of our national holidays, been reduced to appliance sales, fast food specials, and vacation deals?" He starts with Reinventing Memorial Day: Beyond the Mattress Blowout Sale :

In this era of convenience and instant gratification--when mobile screens hold more interest than parades; when regulations are needed to prevent texting while driving; when TV idols are created in the time it takes to sing a song--it's difficult for any brand to break through the noise and be relevant. For Memorial Day, it's particularly hard because it requires us to stop and take the time to remember.


Part 2, Reinventing Memorial Day: Creating Inconvenience and Relevance makes an interesting point, that convenience is the enemy of meaning. Prior to 1971 the holiday fell on May 30, whatever day of the week that was; Then it was changed to the last Monday of the month.

This seemingly insignificant move made it both more convenient and less meaningful. Discussions about Memorial Day, if they continued to occur, shifted from remembrance to vacation planning.


In Part 3, Reinventing Memorial Day: Solutions for Silence and Sacrifice , "McCallion presents solutions from quieting our social networks in observance to asking companies to celebrate country over commerce."

He suggests that inconvenience is key, and proposes a Social Media Moment of Silence.

Given the central role electronic communication plays in the lives of Americans, especially American youth, abstaining from it for even a moment constitutes a very real sacrifice. At 6:00pm EST (18:00, when "Taps" is played at the end of the military day) we could have Americans across all time zones make a final tweet or status update, reading simply "Remembering Memorial Day," perhaps accompanied by a yellow-hued avatar to drive the point home.

He suggests also that YouTube could become our new parade. More at Fast Company