The meaning of Memorial Day escapes many Americans.
The holiday is held in memory of the men and women in the military who died in active duty, helping to keep our nation free.
It's one of the reasons why the holiday is one my favorites.
But it's not No. 1 on my list of holidays. That goes to Christmas, which also has special meaning.
Herewith, then, we rank seven major holidays.
1 – Christmas. It has a month-long feel, and you get an inner warmth from giving to others. And, for Christians, of course, Christmas has significant religious meaning.
2 – Memorial Day. Honoring our fallen heroes. Also marks the unofficial beginning of summer, most everyone's favorite season. As such, it's also about anticipation of summer and great weather, outdoor recreation, vacation and more time with family and friends.
3 – Fourth of July. Quintessential summer holiday and fireworks to boot. Plus, there is still a ton of great weather, along with a vacation, left to enjoy.
4 – Halloween. The scent and fragrance of fall. Foliage. Pumpkins. Decorations. The joy of trick-or-treating with kids and the joy in greeting trick-or-treaters at your door.
5 – Thanksgiving. Typically a four-day weekend. Time with family. Plus you know that the Christmas holiday season is beginning.
6 – New Year's. Time to celebrate and there are bowl games to watch. But there is pressure to do something on New Year's Eve, and Jan. 1 also means Christmas vacation is over and winter and its full force are here.
7 – Labor Day. A three-day weekend but also a bittersweet time. Summer is over. Back to school. Traffic on the roads heightens. I once read that Labor Day is to summer as Sunday night is to the weekend. Brilliant analogy.