Taking a Break on Memorial Day by Sheila B Robinson

Greetings! I’m Sheila B Robinson, aea365’s Lead Curator and sometimes Saturday contributor. After ushering in the weekend with a full day of data analysis and evaluation report writing, I’m ready for a break, so I’m here to share a little about Memorial Day, celebrated in the US on Monday May 29, 2017. On Memorial Day, we honor those who have given their lives in service to their country, and reflect on the freedoms they fought for that we now enjoy. For some, Memorial Day heralds in the summer and in my part of the country, we take a break from evaluation work to plant tomatoes and other summer vegetables in between outdoor barbecue parties with family and friends.

A couple of years ago, Michael Quinn Patton and I chatted about featuring some themed weeks in the aea365 calendar, and in 2016, launched our first Memorial Day week, featuring a series of memorials remembering and honoring some of our esteemed evaluation pioneers. The special 2-week series began with Michael’s introduction to the series on May 21 and continued through June 4. This year, we’ll keep it to one week, but will feature a unique take on it with memorials to concepts, terms, and approaches. In 2018, we plan to take yet another innovative approach to the idea of memorials, but no spoiler here. You’ll have to stay tuned for that!

For today, however, I urge you to take a little break with me and learn about this important holiday! I have to admit, part of my interest in learning more about this holiday is that despite the fact that about 20 other places have claimed it, the congressional recognition of the “birthplace of Memorial Day” is practically in my backyard! The Memorial Day holiday (first called “Decoration Day”) in May started in 1866 in the small village of Waterloo, NY, about 40 miles from my home (I live just outside of Rochester, NY). However, it’s important to note that honoring our fallen citizens is hardly a recent or even uniquely American custom. In fact, one of the first known public tributes to war dead was in 431 B.C., when the Athenian general and statesman Pericles delivered a funeral oration praising the sacrifice and valor of those killed in the Peloponnesian War

Rad Resources: Want to learn more about Memorial Day? Try these sites and articles:

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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