We’re so close to the unofficial start of summer – we can practically feel the sunlight, smell the barbecue roasting veggies and meats galore, and hear the sizzle of marshmallows over an open fire. Whether you’re already celebrating or are waiting for the actual holiday, the summer feeling in the air is palpable. It must be Memorial Day!
While you’re out celebrating this weekend, we encourage you to make a point – with both yourself and others – to remember the meaning behind the Memorial Day holiday. This federal U.S. holiday was created as a remembrance of all those who sacrificed their lives for the country they held so dear.
The holiday was originally dubbed “Decoration Day” after the American Civil War, when on this day each year the nation would decorate the graves of fallen soldiers with flowers to remember their sacrifice. When the holiday officially became “Memorial Day” in 1971, the holiday was inaugurated at Arlington National Cemetery, where people placed American flags on each and every gravestone. We still decorate the graves of the fallen with American flags and flowers to this day—to offer respect and thanks for the sacrifice they made to defend America and its people.
No matter your political affiliation, it’s always important to offer thanks to those who fought to make our lives better. Nearly everyone knows someone who served in the armed forces, whether a family member, friend, coworker, or other acquaintance. Honoring those who served to protect our freedom is therefore an experience we all share in some way, an experience that brings us together as a unified people.
This Memorial Day, take a few moments of silence to remember fallen soldiers past and present. Visit your town’s local cemetery to see the gravesites covered in American flags or attend your local Memorial Day service. Many towns or counties hold celebrations complete with speeches, poems, music, and even parades. If you’re off vacationing, take a few moments on the beach, near the barbecue, or during a toast to remind yourself of the true meaning of the holiday. Remember, and enjoy!