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Memorial Day 2017

Today marks the beginning of the Memorial Day Weekend. For some, this weekend is about barbecue’s, drinking beer, playing outside, going to the beach, going on vacation, spending money on the “deals” at the malls, or just enjoying your three day weekend and embracing the beginning of summer. But for others, this holiday serves a different purpose. For some, and it should be for everyone, it’s about remembering the brave men and women who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice defending our great nation.

For the people who have no clue what this day means, here is a little history lesson for ya.

At the end of the Civil War in 1865, the soldiers (Union and Confederate) returning home decided to honor their fallen brothers-in-arms by putting flowers on their gravesite’s. In 1866, the Southern States called the remembrance of fallen Confederate Soldiers the Confederate Memorial Day. The Confederate Memorial Day was celebrated usually towards the end of April but could last until mid-June – due to individual graveyards, family graveyards, Municipal/State maintained graveyards, etc. It wasn’t until 1890, that it was designated that all fallen Confederate soldiers would be honored in the South – instead of just individual soldiers. In the North, it was a little bit different. It wasn’t until 1868 that the Northern states decided to actually copy the South in honoring it’s fallen soldiers, and it was called Decoration Day. Decoration Day was celebrated on May 30th. In 1882, Decoration Day was changed to Memorial Day.

It wasn’t until after WWII, that the word “Memorial” Day was being used across the country and it wasn’t the official name under Federal law until 1967 (over 100 years since the Civil War’s ending). In 1968, the US Congress passed the Uniformed Monday Holiday Act, which changed the date of Memorial Day to the last Monday in the month of May (to make a more relaxed three day weekend) and was made Federal Law in 1971.

A lot of things take place on Memorial Day Weekend and on Memorial Day specifically. All over our great nation on Memorial Day, the American Flags are flown at half staff, but only until 1200 (noon). The National Monument of Remembrance Act was passed in Congress in 2002, to unify our country for at least one minute in time, on Memorial Day, and the souls of the lost will be remembered as a united country. At 1500 (3pm) local time, Americans are asked to stop what they are doing and remember those that have fallen. Ceremonies across the country are taking place in State Capitals and Municipalities.

In Washington DC there are many events that always take place on Memorial Day: a laying of the wreath at Arlington National Cemetery, the National Memorial Day Concert taking place on the lawn of the US Capitol, the Rolling Thunder Ride For the Wall (Motorcyclists, usually veterans, gather at locations across the country and ride motorcycles to the Vietnam War Memorial), and many more. Big cities and towns are having Parades, Special Community Events (to include concerts), families are visiting graveyards and laying down flags and flowers on fallen soldiers, paying their respects, and crying that they are not here.

Washington DC National Memorial Day Parade 2011. Photo from www,georgetowner.com

Memorial Day is about remembering – remembering where we’ve came from and not forgetting the one’s who’ve made that ultimate sacrifice. Here recently, it seems like this generation is wanting to forget our past. We need to know where we have been, to know where we are going to succeed. This Memorial Day, really re-evaluate what this day means. Memorial Day is often confused with Veteran’s Day and people will go around thanking veterans – yes it’s respectable to thank a veteran, but this day is about remembering the fallen. If you can, go and visit Arlington National Cemetery and get a feel for what this day is really about. At the 1500 (3pm) hour on Memorial Day, stop and say a prayer for the families that have lost a loved one and pay respect for the fallen.

This “holiday” has become more and more commercial and we have seemed to have forgotten what it is truly about. Please do not fall victim to the commercialization, but instead, overcome it and continue being a true patriot.

As always, ya’ll be good and be safe!

Categories: News