Memorial weekend has arrived, and many companies throughout the Great Garden State celebrate by giving their employees a long holiday weekend. And rightfully so since Memorial weekend marks the unofficial start to the summer season in New Jersey.

Yes, it's a time we should be celebrating some fun in the sun, no question there. But at the same time, it's important to acknowledge what this holiday is really about.

So many in our country, including here in New Jersey, have paid the ultimate sacrifice so we could enjoy ourselves with the freedoms we have. So although it's OK to be happy this weekend, we must remember that the holiday itself is a solemn one, and we must respect that.

And it's this reason why it amazes me how tone-deaf some companies are when it comes to Memorial Day weekend. It's almost as if they need to be schooled on the differences between this and Independence Day.

My wife and I have both worked for companies that do this. Where the HR departments might put out an email or note that completely misses the point of the holiday.

Here's an example. I worked for a company that would put an email out right before the long weekend wishing all of us a Happy Memorial Day. As if that weren't enough, they would ask us to celebrate by having fun wearing red, white, and blue that Friday before the long break.

Not one mention at all about remembering those we lost so we could be free. None at all, and it always rubbed me the wrong way. Yes, we're all patriots, but it doesn't feel right to treat this particular holiday as a celebration.

We have a holiday for that already called Independence Day. If that were the holiday this particular HR department was promoting, I'd be completely down with partaking in such activities.

But for Memorial Day it just doesn't feel right. I've often said we should instead say happy unofficial kickoff to summer, while still acknowledging what Memorial Day itself is all about, without saying happy in front of memorial.

It's OK to be happy and celebrate summer, as long as that's what it is. But on Memorial Day itself, it's important to remember and say thank you to those who can't be here with us because of the sacrifice they paid for us to have a joyous start to summer.

When a company ignores that and instead treats it like this big patriotic party, that's just wrong. I'm sure most of them mean well, but it gives the appearance that they lost sight of what the holiday is truly all about.

So to all the New Jersey companies that do this, please double-check your calendars for when July 4th really is and save the big employee celebrations for then. On Memorial Day, we remember and honor.


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The above post reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 Sunday morning host Mike Brant. Any opinions expressed are his own.

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