Lest We Forget…

Memorial Day.  Observed in the United States of America by most people as another 3-day weekend.  A paid day off.  A day to BBQ, go to the beach/lake, party on Flag of the United States of AmericaSunday because you don’t work on Monday, and in general, just have fun.  Lowe’s Home Improvement is even running a radio ad stating what they think very clearly: Memorial Day is for fun and getting things done.

Lowe’s is wrong, and their ad demonstrates that too many people have forgotten why we get to do all those things on this weekend.  That they’ve forgotten, that there are generations being raised that are not being taught the meaning of Memorial Day, is just sad.  No, it’s tragic.

What is Memorial Day
Unlike Veterans Day, which is annually celebrated each year on November 11th to honor all Veterans, living and dead, Memorial Day is a day to remember and commemorate the men and women of America’s military who have died in service to our nation.

On May 5, 1868, General John Logan declared in his General Orders Number 11:

The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

Since the late 1800’s many communities observed Memorial Day to remember those who had fallen during the Civil War.  (Many Southern States had their own day of remembrance for fallen Confederate solders.  Some states still observe such a day in addition to Memorial Day.)  After World War I, Memorial Day became a day to honor those who had died in all of America’s wars.  In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a a national holiday to be observed on the last Monday in May; to ensure a three day weekend.

We’ve Forgotten
In its 2002 Memorial Day address, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) stated:

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.

There is a generation that believes Memorial Day means they get a 3-day weekend simply to kick-off summer.  Another generation that believes Memorial Day is nothing more than a they get to skip school, or the day that the community pool opens.  This needs to be fixed.

Remembering, If Only For A Moment
Memorial Day is for remembering the men and women who have died in service to our country so that we may enjoy our freedom.  Flags on gravesites for Memorial DayIn 2000 the National Moment of Remembrance was established by Congress, asking all Americans to pause for a moment at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day in remembrance and as an act of national unity.  This moment (duration: one minute) was established to help promote the values of Memorial Day, remind us all what this day is for, and to help ensure that future generations can carry that knowledge forward.

Displaying The Flag
The United States Flag Code states that the flag should be displayed on all days, but especially on 18 specific days; including Memorial Day.  The flag is to flown at half-mast until noon, at which time it is to be raised to full mast.

For my day, I plan to BBQ, have a cold beer or two, and to spend time with friends and family.  But I remember, and I will never forget, those who since the birth of our nation made the greatest sacrifice there is so that we can all have these freedoms on this day, and all year long.

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About Fresh Start Dad
Early forties, divorced dad of two teenagers, surviving back in the single world. Here to share stories and any survival skills I pick-up a

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