What is the meaning of Memorial Day?
- Officially, Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday which occurs every year on the final Monday of May. Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
- Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War.
- By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in the military service. It typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.
I found various days purporting to be the very first official Memorial Day.
All were in the late 1860’s.
- A claim was made in 1906 that the first Civil War soldier’s grave ever decorated was in Warrenton, Virginia on June 3, 1861, implying the first Memorial Day occurred there.
- The practice of decorating soldiers’ graves with flowers is an ancient custom. Soldiers’ graves were decorated in the U.S. before and during the American Civil War.
- There is authentic documentation that women in Savannah, Georgia decorated soldiers’ graves in 1862. In 1863, the cemetery dedication at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania was a ceremony of commemoration at the graves of dead soldiers. Local historians in Boalsburg, PA claim that ladies there decorated soldiers’ graves on July 4, 1864. As a result, Boalsburg promotes itself as the birthplace of Memorial Day
- It is unclear where exactly this tradition originated; numerous different communities may have independently initiated the memorial gatherings.
- Nevertheless, in 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day. Waterloo-which had first celebrated the day on May 5, 1866-was chosen because it hosted an annual, community-wide event, during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags. Source, History.com
Memorial Day is often confused with Veterans Day.
Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving.
Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans.
All I know of war, is what I have read and see on the movie and TV screens.
Which means, I know nothing of war.
I know nothing of the sacrifices of those that have given all.
So much so, that I have no words. What could I possibly say… ?
I did read somewhere, that there are only two words that describe the meaning of Memorial Day, and they are Thank You.
In December 2000, Congress passed a law that “requires” Americans to pause at 3 PM on Memorial Day and take a moment of silence to honor the fallen.
The time was designated as the National Moment of Remembrance and serves as an act of national unity in remembering all of the men and women who have given their lives in service of the United States.
I know what myself and my family will be doing at 3 p.m.
PS: Have you ever heard of the Butterfly Effect? I always wonder… if that one person who sacrificed all, didn’t perhaps change the course of history?