Recognize, respect, and pay tribute this Memorial Day

Recognize, respect, and pay tribute this Memorial Day

Memorial Day is around the corner. Are you looking forward to the upcoming three-day weekend as you make plans to enjoy some time with your family and friends? Perhaps you are planning to spend time relaxing outdoors. Will you take a road trip for a quick getaway? Packing a picnic basket and heading to the lake for some swimming and fishing just might be an annual event that you and your family prefer to do. Will you enjoy some delicious barbecue, which includes corn on the cob, homemade potato salad, and chocolate chip cookies, while sitting on a blanket at the park? The first day of summer begins in June; however, many consider Memorial Day to mark the first unofficial day of summer.

Do you know the meaning behind Memorial Day and why it is a federal holiday? There is a reason why the word “memorial” is part of this American holiday. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word memorial as “created or done to honor a person who has died or to remind people of an event in which many people died.” Memorial Day is a day to honor and remember all men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice during all American wars.

In 1868, Union General John A. Logan established May 30th as Decoration Day. This occasion was a time to decorate the graves, with flowers, of the fallen Civil War soldiers. Three years after the Civil War, 1861-1865, the event was declared as a tribute to those who defended our rights and freedoms. Years later, in 1952, President Harry S. Truman issued a proclamation asking all Americans to observe Memorial Day and to include a day of prayer for peace and a designated period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer.  While in office, President Richard M. Nixon declared Memorial Day as a federal holiday in1971, and the holiday is now observed on the last Monday of May.

Memorial Day is more than a three-day weekend with a day off from school or work.  It is a time to honor and remember our fallen soldiers who fought for our freedom, in the land of opportunity, the United States of America. It is a day to honor and remember all military personnel who sustained wounds in battle or died in battle.

On Memorial Day, honor and remember those who so bravely gave their lives, the ultimate sacrifice. Include the meaning of “memorial” as you celebrate this Memorial Day.  Our rights and freedoms are precious gifts that should not be taken for granted.  Honor and remember by participating in customary Memorial Day celebrations, such as parades, placing flags or flowers on graves of men and women who have served, sharing stories about family members and loved ones who have served.  Consider visiting monuments, participating in the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. for a moment of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation, and/or waving the American Flag proudly.

Together we must recognize, respect, and pay tribute to our American heroes; teach our children the importance and the meaning of Memorial Day; and encourage our children to be respectful and knowledgeable of our country’s history. Share your thoughts, with your family, about Memorial Day, and what the holiday means to you. Honor and preserve the memory, of those who have served, as an historical event, by celebrating the true reason for Memorial Day.