As many packed up and headed out for a 3 or 4 day weekend, was the meaning behind this most important holiday left behind?
Memorial Day was officially declared by General John Logan, National Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic when the country was still reeling from the tragedy of the Civil War and the loss of 620,000 soldiers. Many referred to this day as Decoration Day, as those grateful for the service of fallen soldiers would decorate their graves with flowers. Many women in the South, prior to the end of the Civil War decorated the graves of fallen soldiers and loved ones. Though Memorial Day was officially established and honored on May 30, 1868, three years after the end of the Civil War it was only celebrated by the Northern States. It wasn’t celebrated by the Southern States until after World War I when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died in the Civil War to honoring all Americans who had died fighting in any war.
This holiday is one that should be honored with grace and gratefulness. Those who have lost their lives in the service of our country are those who have kept the American Dream alive. We each have our own dreams, but is our freedom that allows us to live them. As times have changed and many more survive their service in the military, some with devasting physical disabilties, it is important that we remember and honor all those who serve to protect our priceless freedoms.
This Memorial Day weekend, we hope you took the time to decorate the graves of those who have fallen, thank those soldiers who have served and still serve. And, while vacationing or picnicking with your loved ones, take an opportunity to teach your children the meaning behind Memorial Day, and if you have family members whom you are honoring, do so by sharing their stories and memories. In my case, I will be honoring my father (World War II & Korean War) and two brothers (Iraq War) and am indebted for their service and grateful for their survival.