With Memorial Day Weekend in full swing, sometimes the true meaning of this national holiday is forgotten or pushed to the side. No, this 3 day weekend is not just a time for picnics, boating, rocking your new pair of sunglasses, catching some UV rays, or camping – but instead it is a time of observance. Take a look at some of these quick facts about Memorial Day, a holiday created to remember those in the military who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
Memorial Day, first known as Decoration Day, started to remember those who lost their lives during the Civil War. During this time people would decorate the graves of Confederate and Union Soldiers who lost their lives in the Civil War. This is still a very popular practice that occurs during Memorial Day. In 1971, the holiday became a national holiday and was known as Memorial Day. As time continued the holiday included to honor people who had lost their lives in other wars such as World War I, World War II, Vietnam, and the more recent Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.
For many, Memorial Day is time to spend with loved ones and friends. The original tradition of decorating graves is still done throughout our nation, where people will place flags, floral arrangements, decorative stones, and more. The Arlington National Cemetery, in Washington DC, places a USA flag on every grave and traditionally the President or Vice President lays a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Solider. Many cities throughout the nation also hold different ceremonies honoring those who passed away during battle, have Memorial Day parades, or even host Memorial Day concerts with earnings going to veteran-focused charities.
This Memorial Day, before you put on your favorite pair of sunglasses and hit the lake with friends or pack up the car for your camping trip, remember the real reason why our nation has the holiday: remembrance. Remember those men and women, who have given their lives, for the freedoms that we have.