“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.”
-George S. Patton.
Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May each year. For a lot of the American population, this day has become the day that kicks off the summer season of warm sunny days, barbecues, and outdoor fun. However, for many, especially those within the military community this day is about honor. It’s about remembering those who paid that ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy every day.
Memorial Day is generally observed across the country with parades, celebrations, and get togethers with friends and family. It is a three day weekend, and it truly does mark the beginning of summertime. However, it is important among the food and celebration to remember why this day is a holiday in the first place.
Memorial Day has been observed in American since after the Civil War. At that time it was marked with both formal and informal graveside ceremonies as well as ceremonies for the soldiers who had fallen in battle. In May of 1868 the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), a veteran’s organization, established Decoration Day on May 30th. This was the first year that Arlington National Cemetery held an official large observance.
By the time the 19th century ended, Memorial Day Ceremonies were being observed across the country on May 30th. After World War I, the day was expanded to include all those who had died in American wars. Then in 1971 Memorial Day was finally declared a national holiday to be celebrated on the last Monday in May each year.
Whether you are attending one of the numerous official ceremonies across the country, or a backyard barbecue on Memorial Day this year, take the time to remember what the day truly means. And maybe make it a point to observe that true meaning with a minute of silence at 3:00 pm local time. Raise a glass and take the time to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country, our freedoms, and our future.