Friday, May 23, 2014

Remembering Memorial Day

     During the summer, Memorial Day is one of America’s favorite holidays (second only to Independence Day). Summer events draw much attention to the four day weekend, such as barbecues or events such as Tampa Bay Margarita Festival and Winter Haven’s Floatilla. During these relaxing and fun times, have we lost sight of what Memorial Day is about?

     Memorial Day is a United States holiday to honor and remember the people who served in our military branches. Boeing’s 2007 commercial tugged at the heartstrings of friends and family who served in the military.  The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs gives a beautiful history of the holiday.

     After the civil war ended, Major General John A. Logan declared “Decoration Day,” a holiday to honor the soldiers who lost their life in the Civil War. The Grand Army of the Republic would gather to decorate the graves of the fallen on May 30th, when all the flowers would be in bloom. “Decoration Day” was celebrated sporadically until 1966, when Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared the birthplace of Memorial Day was in Waterloo, New York on May 30th. It wasn’t until 1971 that Memorial Day was expanded to celebrate all of the military heroes who lost their lives in the service and officially declared a national holiday.

     The first public Memorial Day celebration in 1971 was at Arlington National Cemetery and has remained stagnant since with number of attendees being approximately 5,000 people. The tradition continues throughout today of placing small American flags on each gravestone of our military heroes.

     In an effort to continue to honor and respect the fallen military heroes, the U.S. Congress passed “The National Remembrance Act,” and requests that all American citizens to pause their activities wherever they are at 3:00PM (local time) and give a moment of silence to those who have fallen to protect our freedoms as American people.

     So if you have plans to barbeque or attend a festival, this Memorial Day weekend, please remember to be thankful, honor, and take into account those who have given their lives to protect our freedoms as American people. Offer a moment at 3:00PM to silently appreciate the liberty and freedoms that were granted to you by our military heroes.