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E-learning About Memorial Day

As Memorial Day dawns and I am preparing for a full day
steeped in the venerable old American tradition of lawn improvement, I realize
that this is a national holiday about which I know very little. So, in the
spirit of practicing what I preach, I offer a quick review of some of the
learning opportunities that are out there.

First stop, of course, Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_Day.
Here you will find good basic information, all of which seems to be accurate
(based on continued searching). For instance,

  • Memorial Day is always observed on the last Monday in May
  • It was originally called Decoration Day
  • It was first intended to honor the Union dead, but was
    expanded post-World I to cover those who have died in any war or military
    action
  • My personal favorite—it has shared the calendar with the
    Indy 500 since 1911.

Of course, as the upstart communal encyclopedia cum
Institution notes, this posting currently cites no references. So, caveat
learner. Some enterprising reader might want to log in to Wikipedia and provide
the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs Memorial Day site as a
reference or source for the Wikipedia entry.

For a glimpse at the level of Memorial Day knowledge we
might expect from future the upcoming generation, I took a look at the array of
K-12 lesson plans available out there on sites like Education
World
, Lesson Planet, and the intriguing Patriotism.org
site run by the Miami-Dade Public Schools.

Finally, in search of more dynamic content, I visited the
History Channel’s History.com
Memorial Day site
where it is possible to review a range of Veterans’ Experience videos. So far this all pretty
standard, patriotic stuff. A stop at YouTube,
however, reminded me that—particularly in a time of war—Memorial Day can be a
highly politicized holiday. Some of the reactions to this particular video
deserve a PG-13 or even R-rating, though the fact that they are out there,
uncensored, is bound to warm the democratic hearts of some percentage of users.
If you are not sure whether they warm your heart of not, you might want to
visit the Political Compass to assess your political leanings.

Whatever your leanings might be—whether you think military
deaths are needless, patriotic, or just aren’t sure—it is hard to argue with
taking some time one day a year to remember those who have died.

Happy Memorial Day.


About the Author Jeff Cobb

I am an avid lifelong learner who writes and speaks frequently on the critical role of learning in our fast-changing world.

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