Decoration Day, as Memorial Day was originally known, was set aside by various towns and states after the Civil War as a day to honor and observe the ultimate sacrifice made by those who didn’t come home. An estimated 625,000 soldiers died in the Civil War. Every American lost family members or friends in that war. People honored the fallen by decorating their graves with flowers and flags.
By the end of World War I, the entire country observed Memorial Day as a day to honor and remember all who gave their lives in service to our country. By that time, May 30 was the standard date of observance across the nation.
The National Holiday Act of 1971 changed the date to always fall on the last Monday in May, and it became an official Federal holiday. This three day weekend has become known as the beginning of summer. Cookouts, family gatherings, pool parties, and the like have, for most people, replaced the placing of flowers and flags on the graves of lost loved ones.
Created in 2000, the National Moment of Remembrance resolution asks each of us to take a little of our time at 3pm (local) on Memorial Day each year “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps’.”
Enjoy yourself today, be safe and alert while driving, boating, or whatever you do. But please take a moment to remember those who gave all, and be grateful for their sacrifice. If it were not for these men and women, we would not have the freedoms, comforts, and security that we enjoy today.