Memorial Day is almost upon us. What do we usually do on this weekend? We go to the lake and swim or ski or fish or just camp out and have fun. Many people visit cemeteries and leave wreaths or flags at the graveside of family members who served our country and gave the ultimate sacrifice. These men or women who sacrificed it all for us deserve the respect of our remembrance of them and what they did.
I had the opportunity to work at a funeral home and cemetery and guide people to the graves of those who have served. Each time I did, I paused to remember them as well. After all, I served in the Armed Forces also during the Viet Nam war and lost friends I served with. So, it is with honor that I stand at the graveside and bow my head in silent prayer as flags were placed near a loved one. It is my hope to get to visit the Viet Nam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. before I die and see the names of those I knew.
While others are using the weekend to have fun with families, I do not hold that against them. I do however wish I could see families pause at a special time and give silent time to remember those who fought and died. Wouldn’t it be nice to see those who have fun take time to recognize the men and women who fought for that freedom?
Memorial Day started as an event to honor Union soldiers who had died during the American Civil War. It was inspired by the way people in the Southern states honored their dead. After World War I, it was extended to include all men and women who died in any war or military action.
Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day. The current name for this day did not come into use until after World War II. Decoration Day and then Memorial Day used to be held on May 30, regardless of the day of the week, on which it fell. In 1968, the Uniform Holidays Bill was passed as part of a move to use federal holidays to create three-day weekends. This meant that that, from 1971, Memorial Day holiday has been officially observed on the last Monday in May. However, it took a longer period for all American states to recognize the new date.