13 May Remember Memorial Day
Though we symbolize Memorial Day with the kick-off of summer and a long weekend of barbecuing, parades and celebrations…..let us always remember as to why those celebrations are held. To honor the men & woman who gave to our country and who still do.
Memorial Day was first celebrated on May 30, 1868. It was observed by placing flowers on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers during the first national celebration. James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, after which around 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers who were buried there. It now honors any service person who served in any war the United States has been involved.
Memorial Day was not recognized as an official federal holiday until 1971. Typical celebrations include parades, dedications, and the placing of flowers and decorations on the grave sites of the fallen soldiers in every war. Originally, the official date of Memorial Day was on May 30th. However, when congress turned it into a long-weekend, many felt that it detracted from the spirit of the holiday. As the VFW stated in its 2002 Memorial Day address: “Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed greatly to the general public’s nonchalant observance of Memorial Day.”
In 2000, Congress established a National Moment of Remembrance, which asks Americans to pause for one minute at 3 p.m.(according to your own time zone) in an act of national unity. The time was chosen because 3 p.m. “is the time when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday.“