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Can you believe it? We were just shoveling snow and it is already Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer.

In the past few days millions of us made our way over to Costco and loaded up on hot dogs, hamburgers, soda, beer, and wagon-loads of other great stuff for today. Lemme see by a show of hands — how many of you got up early to scrub down the barbecue grills and get ready for all of your visitors?

Those of us, including me, whose hands are not up, are lucky enough to be invited to spend the day with relatives and friends at their backyard cookout. I’m bringing a practical gift of four cartons of assorted Cokes and three bottles of wine — one white, one red and one Manischewitz Concord Grape that was left over from Passover.

That last one is very, very sweet and my friends — Jewish and gentile — learned my little secret of what I do with it. Make a large bowl of Sangria with the usual apple and orange slices soaking in the least expensive wine available. When no one is watching, sweeten the formula with a few ounces of the Passover wine and watch how many guests ask for seconds.

A Rasmussen survey taken a while back tells us that 50 percent of Americans view Memorial Day as the most important holiday of the year. Three percent say it is the least important, while the remaining 47 percent rank it somewhere in between.

Many of those interviewed managed to get in their thoughts about Thanksgiving Day. I stole the following line from a radio show when a caller attempted to give his confusing thoughts on American holidays. The conservative host made it crystal clear when he stated, “Thanksgiving is the day when we pause to give thanks for the things we have. Memorial Day is the day when we pause to give thanks to the people who fought for the things we have.”

I wrote that down and brought it up on one of our patriotic holidays last year. In our discussion that followed, I added the following — which was directed to those among us who are always griping, whining and complaining about how much they hate our nation. I said, “There are soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who gave their lives so that you could have this freedom to gripe, whine and complain without fear of being arrested as you would be in other countries. And yet, there are so many of us who take our freedoms for granted. How quickly we forget how we got here.”

Liberty, Freedom and Independence are more than just the names of Royal Caribbean cruise ships. They are part of the American lexicon, and we need patriotic holidays like today to remind us about the heavy price that was paid for us to enjoy these national words.

Take your American Flag out of the back of your closet and let us honor America by displaying the colors. Flag waving is not corny. It is a great reminder that we must take some time away from this marvelously, delicious barbecue to teach our youngsters why we celebrate this day.

Like so many of us, I am a child of immigrants. I am StanGershbein@Bellsouth.net and I am eternally grateful that my parents chose the United States as the land to which they migrated.

God bless America!

Read Stan Gershbein's column every Monday on BrooklynDaily.com.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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