May 20, 2019
What are your plans this holiday weekend?
Many people will be enjoying much-needed time off with friends and family. As the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day is usually filled with fun activities, whether it’s grilling out or laying by the pool. While it’s great to spend the day off from work with loved ones, we should also remember to reflect on the holiday’s importance this coming Monday.
Memorial Day is, quite simply, about remembering our fallen soldiers. While Veterans Day celebrates the service of ALL military personnel, Armed Forces Day recognizes the importance of our military branches, and Independence Day and Flag Day celebrate our establishment as a nation, Memorial Day is a special observance for men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice and lost their lives in the process of serving our country.
Observed on the last Monday of each May, Memorial Day first began by decree on May 30, 1868 in an order signed by Commander in Chief John A. Logan. He stated, “Let us, then, at the time appointed, gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us as sacred charges upon the Nation’s gratitude, the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.”1 In December 2000, the U.S. Congress passed and the president signed into law, “The National Moment of Remembrance Act.” The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to our nation.
Memorial Day brings about mixed emotions for many Americans. We are prompted to think about the many lives lost as a result of painful conflicts. Yet, as we are somberly remembering our fallen soldiers, we also feel tremendous gratitude and want to celebrate the cause for which these brave men and women sacrificed their lives: our freedom.
Whatever your plans may be this coming weekend, whether it be visiting cemeteries and memorials, observing the “Moment of Remembrance,” or attending local Memorial Day events, we encourage you to enjoy your activities and appreciate our freedoms, while not forgetting the brave men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice.
1 “How Memorial Day Went From Somber Occasion to Summer Celebration,” TIME, Merrill Fabry, May 25, 2017.