Memorial Day is a day to remember and honor those who have lost their lives in the line of duty. Many people will thank a veteran or active member of our military on this day, but that is not what this day is about. Although many working folk think of this as a three day weekend we must remember the ultimate sacrifice giving us the freedom we so easily forget we have.
Memorial day was started after the civil war where we lost over 750,000 lives which is more than any other war in American history. The first official Memorial Day or (Decoration Day) as it was originally called was in Arlington National Cemetery on May 30, 1868 after General John A. Logan issued a proclamation calling for this day to be observed nationally.
Memorial Day, as Decoration Day gradually came to be known, originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. But during World War I the United States found itself in another major conflict, and the holiday is now to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars.
For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30, the date General Logan had selected for the first Decoration Day. But in 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees. The change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.
There are a few don’t to remember on this day:
- Don’t wish anyone a “Happy Memorial Day” This is not Christmas – Memorial Day was not founded in joy.
- Don’t thank the current troops.
- Don’t disregard its importance.
- Don’t forget it exists.
- Don’t let politics keep you from rendering respect.
What you can do is fly your American flag, donate your time, visit a veterans memorial and remember why we have this holiday in the first place.