Memorial Day is known for barbecues, lakes, beaches and retail sales, but I personally think some people forget why we celebrate this long weekend. Memorial Day is to remember all of the men and women who have died while protecting and serving our country.
A day to remember the fallen soldiers was established in 1868 by General John A. Logan. According to legend, Logan selected the date of May 30, because it was a rare day that did not fall on an anniversary of a Civil War battle. Some others say that the day was selected because they wanted to ensure that flowers would be blossomed enough to spread across each grave of a fallen solider. It did not become a federal holiday until 1971, but at the time it was called Decoration Day. After going by the name Decoration Day for more than a century, today it is more commonly known as Memorial Day. The holiday is to be celebrated each year on the last Monday of May, regardless of the date. I, too, have been swept up in parties and the long weekend and forgot to stop and appreciate all the people who have served. This year, I want to do more on this day of remembrance. I have decided to have an American Flag placed in the front of my yard. This flag represents the freedom of our country and all the people who were willing to serve on its behalf. Just a reminder that on Memorial Day it is always traditional and thoughtful to keep the flag lowered at half-staff. Although Memorial Day is about honoring the dead, it can also be used as a time to thank those who are still with us and I will do that when the opportunity presents itself. I believe it is extremely important to participate in the National Moment of Remembrance. This moment of silence was established by Congress to restore the holiday back to its original meaning. Congress asked Americans wherever they are located to stop what they are doing at exactly 3 p.m. for one minute. This moment of silence is meant to act as a national sign of unity. Another tradition of the holiday is putting flags on the graves of the people who served our country and passed away. My family recently placed a flag on my grandfather’s grave to honor him for serving. I believe it is a great tradition to show respect to all the past soldiers for what they have done for us. My grandfather served in Korea from 1950-1955. In great words spoken by Martin Luther King, “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”