I was born on Memorial Day. When I was old enough to understand, my father used to tell me people were flying flags on their houses because it was my birthday. To those whose loved ones have served in the military, this may sound like sacrilege. But for me, it was better than Santa Claus. Seeing all those flags on my birthday always made me hold my head a little higher.
Then, in 1968 Congress passed a law that took effect in 1971 changing Washington’s Birthday, Veteran’s Day, and Memorial Day to Mondays to create 3-day holidays for everyone. Veterans were not pleased because the change seemed to elevate long weekends over remembrance of those who have served our country. I’m sure if Washington were alive, he’d have a thing or two to say about his birthday being moved. You can be sure I was disappointed when flags stopped waving on my birthday except for that rare year when my birthday lands on the last Monday in May.
Mother’s Day is the one day on the calendar when you could say the church is waving flags for women. Yet ironically, a day that brings enormous joy and much deserved gratitude and love to many women, is at for many others a day of utter discomfort and grief. Maybe it’s part of the way FaceBook is changing things, but this year I received an unusual number of messages from women who were dreading church that day because of infertility, singleness, the loss of a child, or heartache over a prodigal.
Those emails reminded me of a blog I wrote on Mother’s Day 2009 to wish everyone a Happy Ezer Day! Afterwards Caryn Rivadeneira suggested we declare an International Ezer Day. I loved the idea. But at the time, we were selling our house in Orlando and moving to Massachusetts, so a great idea got lost in the chaos. This year, Memorial Day falls on May 30, and Old Glory is flying on houses again. Seeing those flags and recalling what my father used to say has me thinking we do need a day to celebrate ezers we love, pay tribute to ezers who have impacted our lives, and cheer on the rising generation of young ezers.