Memorial Day, originally Decoration Day, is a day to remember those who have died in the military service of our country. There are a number of stories and claims for the beginning of this holiday. One is that women’s groups in the South decorated graves before the end of the Civil War. Memorial Day was first observed in 1868 when flowers were placed on the graves of soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.
There is a website (www.usmemorialday.org) which has great information on the history of Memorial Day and many other resources. It’s very impressive and humbling as well.
Years ago a common celebration was for families to visit the cemeteries of family members and place flowers on the graves of their military relatives who died fighting for the U.S. and our freedom. While they were there, the people usually decorated the graves of other family members as well. Many cemeteries placed, and still do, small flags to mark the graves of the service men and women. Many service organizations spend time putting out flags at the national cemeteries. What an awesome sight to see those flags decorating the final resting place of our soldiers!
For most of us, this holiday has become a three-day holiday to spend with our families. In itself spending time with our families is not all bad either. This year let’s make it more than that.
Memorial Day should be a special day. This year, please take some time to think about all the people who lost their lives making America the great place it is today. All of us have lost one of our own family members, know of a friend or neighbor who died in a war, or watch television programs about our military who have died for the U.S. War has touched all of our lives in one way or another.
If you have an hour, go to your local veteran’s memorial; almost every area of America has something like this; and take a few minutes there to contemplate your future and think about the people who helped make a future possible. Too many Americans take our freedom for granted and truly don’t understand the sacrifices others have made for us to live the way we live.
Take some time to also remember all the men and women currently serving all around the world on our behalf.
To all you veterans, thanks for your service. To all of you who had a family member or friend who served and are no longer with you, I thank you too.
This year – remember. God Bless America!