by Carol Riley, Staff Writer
Many Gave All
Memorial Day, May 29, has a specific purpose—to honor and remember America’s fallen. It was established in 1868 by Gen. John Logan who declared the day for “the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.”
Originally known as “Decoration Day,” a day to honor those who died in the Civil War, the name was changed to Memorial Day, a day to remember all men and women who died serving in the U.S. military. It was declared an official federal holiday in 1971. The date was standardized as well to the last Monday in May.
Don’t wish anyone a Happy Memorial Day. This is not a joyous holiday, but a solemn remembrance of the thousands of men and women who have given their lives in pursuit of freedom.
Don’t thank the current troops—at least don’t thank them because it’s Memorial Day. Our troops deserve our respect and gratitude every day, but Memorial Day is set aside specifically for America’s fallen from every war.
Don’t forget its importance. You may have been waiting months to take advantage of the Memorial Day discounts on a new mattress and that’s fine, but just don’t forget the true meaning of the day. Take a few moments to reflect and honor those service men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
Don’t let politics get in the way of showing respect for the purpose of the day. Even if you disagree with the idea of war or the reasons for going to war, people have defended the interests of America for over 200 years, and we can disagree with the reasoning that took us to war and still honor our troops.
Do enjoy the day. Maybe the weather will cooperate, and you can have a backyard barbecue – just remember to raise a glass to the true meaning of Memorial Day.
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