Memorial Day weekend is of course the traditional start of summer. The calendar may say that summer actually is about a month away but with school out and people on the roadways, the season is under way regardless of the calendar.
The overriding concern this weekend is the potential for disaster on the highways. Memorial Day always brings millions of motorists and a carefree attitude. Mix a bit of alcohol into the formula and you have the makings for a problem. Statistics year after year show that this particular weekend is as dangerous as any throughout the year. Of course, the sad point is that many of those mishaps could be avoided. And yet our headlines following the weekend will tell the sad tales of those who made mistakes and those who suffered from those mistakes.
This weekend also means that schools are complete for the year and literally thousands of youngsters will find ample free time on their hands. Given the right motivation and opportunity, these youngsters can look forward to an enjoyable and productive summer. Given no direction, unlimited freedom and little or no supervision, these youngsters can also create problems within a community that are both unneeded and unwelcomed. Supervising kids over the summer months is a challenge for parents. But it's also important to establish rules. Without some supervision and rules, kids will often resort to activities that pose dangers to themselves and others.
Lost in most discussions is the true meaning and purpose of Memorial Day. That special day is set aside to recognize those who have served in our nation's military and have died. With Americans currently fighting and dying on foreign soil, that alone should make this Memorial Day extremely special. But for many, the real purpose of this Memorial Day is simply forgotten. Instead it is the first summer holiday and a time for friends and family and relaxation. At the very least, take a moment or two to appreciate the reason we collectively mark this holiday.
Let me return briefly to the dangerous aspect of this weekend. Traffic fatalities could be reduced significantly with two changes: first, don't drink and drive; and second, buckle those seat belts. These two minor decisions could drastically change the headlines next week. And it goes without saying, these two decisions could change your life forever.
Enjoy this weekend and enjoy the summer season ahead. Let's all use this upcoming time to improve our community and our family. We have a golden opportunity to mark a special summer season. And it all starts by making good decisions.