Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them. - Franklin D. Roosevelt
As Memorial Day approaches us this year, it's important to remember that there is so much more to this holiday than an extended weekend and backyard BBQ’s. As Roosevelt said, it’s so easy to get caught up in everyday life and forget all the sacrifices that it took for us to have this life. Here are a few things to keep in mind this Memorial Day to help honor all of those who helped us get here today.
The History of Memorial Day
Memorial Day is a day of remembrance to the brave American heroes who have sacrificed their lives while honorably serving our country. Every year this holiday is observed on the last Monday of May; this year, it will be on Monday, May 31, 2021.
Memorial Day remembrances and traditions date all the way back to the post Civil War times. Originally, It was referred to as “Decoration Day”. After the Civil War ended, loved ones come together and began decorating their fallen soldiers' graves with flowers, wreaths, and American Flags on this day as a way to honor the fallen soldiers.
These decorating traditions officially began when the leader of the Northern Civil War Veterans' organization requested that May 30th be a day to remember the lives of the Union and Confederate soldiers who died during the war. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, it is believed that this day was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.
Celebrating Memorial Day Today
Today this holiday has evolved to be a national holiday of remembrance for all military personnel who have lost their lives serving the United States. While backyard BBQ’s are welcomed and have become sort of a common theme on this holiday weekend, here are a few impactful ways to honor the sacrifices made by our nation’s heroes this year.
- Flying the American Flag: Keep in mind if you’re flying the flag to follow the half-staff rules for Memorial day! The American flag should be flown at half-staff from sunrise until noon, then raised briskly to the top of the staff until sunset. Check out this blog for more details on flying your flag at half-staff.
- One minute of silence at 3:00PM: Every Memorial Day at 3 P.M. local time, Americans are encouraged to pause for one minute of silence. This pause is known as the National Moment of Remembrance and is an act that was signed into law by the U.S. Congress in 2000.
- Decorating Graves: Tradition never goes out of style. You can decorate a loved one's grave with grave markers or American stick flags.