Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day and started as a day to honor the fallen soldiers from the Civil War because of a proclamation by General John Logan. The reason for the name, Decoration Day, was because on that day graves of the soldiers lost during the Civil War were decorated with flowers. Decoration Day was originally celebrated on May 30th. In 1968 it was moved to a Monday creating a long holiday weekend.
On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at the Arlington National Cemetary with 5,000 participants who volunteered to decorate the graves. As times have changed, many have forgotten the true purpose behind Memorial Day, to remember the soldiers who have been lost.
As an example, I do not think that many Americans know that at 3:00 PM on Memorial Day the National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause for a minute and honor those Veterans who gave their lives in service for the US. It saddens me that many people do not even know to remember the fallen soldiers at 3:00 PM. I do not mean that Memorial Day should be a somber day without celebrations, but that we should take some time to remember the sacrifices of those who stand in defense of this nation.
Many people do visit the Arlington Cemetery or other cemeteries for Veterans and take flowers, in addition to enjoying the weekend with their friends and families. Taking a moment at 3:00 PM to think about our Veterans and what their service means for all of us shows our respect and love for our Veterans as well as supports their family members and friends who have lost a loved one. I ask you to remember what the day means and if you know a spouse who lost their husband or wife to express your gratitude for what they did for all of us.
Most of all, I hope you join me this Memorial Day in remembering to pause at 3:00 PM for a Moment of Remembrance!
Happy Memorial Day!