What does Memorial Day mean to you? Is it a day off work, time spent grilling with family and friends? A day to go shopping and grab the hottest discounts? Or maybe a day to catch a game and enjoy a cold one or two? Over time, so many things lose their meaning and to many people it’s just a long weekend when they head to the beach or take in a big blockbuster movie.
Let’s remember that Memorial Day has the word “Memorial” in it for a reason. It’s a time our nation reflects with gratitude on the ultimate sacrifice so many have made for this exceptional nation. To remember this country was founded – and kept secure – by the blood of warriors. Men and women who’ve heeded the call to defend all that we hold dear: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This holiday is also a time to celebrate the many freedoms that our American Heroes perished protecting.
The holiday received its roots on May 30, 1868, when Union General John A. Logan declared the day an occasion to decorate the graves of Civil War soldiers. Twenty years later, the name was changed to Memorial Day. On May 11, 1950, Congress passed a resolution requesting that the president issue a proclamation calling on Americans to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace. President Richard M. Nixon declared Memorial Day a federal holiday in 1971, where on the last Monday of May, we pause to honor the men and women who sacrificed for our freedoms.
So before the picnics and BBQ’s begin, before heading out to the car and furniture sales, set some time aside to reflect and thank those who selflessly put their lives on line. Take your loved ones to a Memorial Day event, place the Stars and Stripes on the grave site of an American military service member, raise a glass, or fly the flag. There are many poignant and beautiful ways to celebrate this holiday but let’s all make sure to keep the true meaning and spirit of Memorial Day alive!