As Memorial Day approaches, I have done a lot of thinking. I scroll through posts of people wishing everyone a “Happy Memorial Day” or talking about the BBQ’s they are preparing for. I even get the “thank you for serving our country, Happy Memorial Day” messages. I need for you all to understand that this isn’t what Memorial Day is about. While it often marks the start of summer for a lot of people, this day is about so much more.
Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day. It is a day of remembrance for all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice serving our great country. It’s the day we remember those who lost their lives so we could enjoy the freedoms that we have.
According to usmemorialday.org: Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War and a desire to honor our dead. It was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.
After World War I the day changed from celebrating those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring all Americans who died fighting in every war. The date also changed from the 30th of May to the last Monday of May with the National Holiday Act of 1971.
Observing Memorial Day has (in my opinion) been corrupted to BBQ’s and partying instead of decorating the graves of fallen soldiers along with remembering their sacrifices in the true meaning of the day. In an effort to acknowledge what Memorial Day is about, President Bill Clinton signed the National Moment of Remembrance Resolution in December 2000. The resolution calls for all Americans to take a moment of remembrance and respect at 3 pm. While I think that’s great, the original purpose of the day was to spend the day in remembrance…not just a moment.
So this Memorial Day, keep in mind what the day is really about. While those of us who have served or are serving appreciate your thanks, there are days dedicated to that. There is a difference in each designated holiday.
This is where I want to express my utmost respect and love to the friends and family members who have been left behind. Your loved one paid the ultimate price for you, me and the rest of the people of our great nation and there is nothing that can repay them or you. I have lost battle buddies to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and I know the pain that it leaves in the wake. I will be spending my Memorial Day remembering those great people and over a million other lives lost during battle. Their sacrifices will never be lost on me or my family.
My husband will be participating in a remembrance ceremony this weekend. While I won’t be in attendance due to my kids (sicknesses and my youngest got stitches this week), I will be there in spirit and taking time out to reflect on the lives lost and the freedom those lives have brought my family. I am enternally grateful for those who have fought for our great country and never returned home. That debt can never be paid. They will never be forgotten…not in my home and not by my family.
I would love for you to share how your family remember the fallen this Memorial Day weekend?