As Americans all over the country prepare for the long Memorial Day weekend, I think it's a great time to reflect on the true meaning of this holiday. Most of us know Memorial Day as the unofficial first weekend of summer, celebrating the warmer weather with family and friends at barbecues, picnics, and having an extra day added to our weekend; (who doesn't love a 3-day weekend?). But as we prepare to enjoy this national holiday, let's remember the true meaning and importance of Memorial Day.
Memorial Day is a day of mourning: While we enjoy celebrating festivities with our loved ones on this Memorial Day weekend, the federal holiday was actually created to mourn the military personnel that died while serving in the US Armed Forces.
Memorial Day dates back to the Civil War era: Although Memorial Day was only officially made a federal holiday in 1971 by an act of Congress, it actually dates back to the Civil War era, according to the US Department of Veterans' Affairs. Originally know as Decoration Day, Americans who lost someone in battle honored those who died by decorating their graves with flowers.
Memorial Day was originally only for the Civil War: As Decoration Day gained popularity across the country, people realized that this was a day only celebrating Civil War military. As time passed and the United States became involved in more wars, the holiday was re-named Memorial Day to commemorate those American military personnel that died in any war. The original day of May 30th for the holiday was changed to the last Monday in May to create a 3-day holiday for all federal employees.
Remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice; there are MANY: According to Statista, the number of military fatalities in all major wars involving the United States from 1775 to 2022 is approximately 6,885,000...that's 6 million, eight hundred eighty five thousand Americans that have died serving our country.
This Memorial Day weekend, please take a moment on Monday (3:00 PM your local time is the official time of observation) amid the festivities to remember those that died protecting our freedoms that we all love and enjoy. If you are reading this and lost a loved one who served, we thank you as well.
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