Memorial Day is set aside to remember those who have laid down their lives for all the citizens of America, those who paid the ultimate price to protect and ensure the freedoms that we enjoy. The first occurrence of the observation of Memorial Day was in 1886 in the state of New York. This was just after the Civil War and the day was meant to honor and remember those that had died in the war.
In the next few years, the rest of the northern states followed suit and recognized the holiday. Most southern states started the observance after World War I.
The holiday originally began as Decoration Day. The first observance occurred at Arlington National Cemetery on May 30, 1868. The first service was a procession through the graves that involved placing flowers and American flags on each grave to remember the soldiers lost.
This service also was accompanied by the singing of hymns and songs. Some communities still observe the holiday in this way.
In 1967, Congress officially changed the name of the holiday from Decoration Day to Memorial Day. When the change was made, Congress scheduled Memorial Day on the last Monday of May.
For many, Memorial Day has become another three-day weekend to have fun. It apparently has lost some of its original meaning and purpose.
In our opinion, all Americans should take the time Monday to give thanks to those who died for our freedom.
Veterans, living and deceased, are worthy of our respect. Those who survived America’s wars someday will join their departed comrades in arms.
Moreover, let’s make sure we say thanks to our veterans and to those men and women now in uniform who are ready to do their duty to protect America.
Memorial Day reminds us that we must never forget.