Here it is, another three-day weekend coming up. The weekend to kick off all the summer weekends. Many cook outs and pool parties are surely planned for this up-coming weekend. But let’s not forget the true meaning of Memorial Day. The day for us to remember those that have lost their lives in many wars.
I love patriotic holidays. The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays. I love seeing the colors red, white and blue together, the fireworks and celebrations. Although Memorial Day isn’t necessarily in the top of my list of favorites (Halloween, New Year’s Eve and 4th of July are my top three), I do have respect for what it’s about. The act of remembering those that did not make it to through the other side of war came three years after the Civil War ended on May 5, 1868. The Grand Army of the Republic established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers.
It was declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30th by Major General John A. Logan. Many states around the United States declared their cities as the “birthplace.” In 1971 it was declared a national holiday and permanently placing it on the last Monday in the month of May.
I grew up with a lot of Veterans. My father retired from the U.S. Navy, my paternal grandfather served in the U.S. Navy in WWII, and uncle on my dad’s side and now my youngest brother were/are U.S. Navy. Another brother was in the U.S. Marines and my maternal great-grandfather served in the U.S. Army during WWI. There are many more going back to the Civil War but those are the closest relatives. So I grew up around this environment my entire life. Always around Veterans and hearing so many stories of what happened while they served their country. Luckily all of those I’ve named survived with the exception of my great-uncle Lynn West who was killed-in-action (KIA) in 1968 during Vietnam.
So to remember and honor those that have died in service, take a moment to pause at at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence. As Moment of Remembrance founder Carmella LaSpada states: “It’s a way we can all help put the memorial back in Memorial Day.”