Memorial Day weekend for many of us is a time when we attend family gatherings or get together with friends. For me it is a time when my wife and now-adult kids go to the cabin on the Wisconsin-Michigan border. After all, musky season opens. But this year was different. Because of some extended-family needs, we were unable to go to the cabin. Though we were disappointed, it gave us an opportunity to host a get-together. A close friend who works at the Pentagon was moving his son to the Madison area. My daughter brought her boyfriend who is in the Army National Guard. As the conversation between our guests progressed, it dawned on me that I had lost the true meaning of Memorial Day. Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971.
As I pondered the meaning of Memorial Day and the many sacrifices these men and women and their families have made, I thought, “Who am I to complain about the hardships of compliance?” It is easy to say that those of us who work in regulatory compliance have been going through an incredible amount of change. New regulations, retooled regulations, and zealous examiners have added complexity and utilized scarce resources. It has not been an easy task, and the past 10 years have been incredibly stressful — so much so that it is easy to forget that some of the new and revised regulations that may not be part of our daily routine are meant to alleviate a tiny bit of stress for our country’s military families. In the spirit of Memorial Day, take some time to honor those servicemembers by looking at the Military Lending Act (MLA) and Servicemember Civil Relief Act (SCRA) compliance programs for adequacy. Come to think of it, make the several weeks leading up to or after Memorial Day the time for an annual review of your MLA and SCRA programs.