Memorial Day is much more than a three-day weekend that marks the beginning of summer. To many people, especially the nation’s thousands of combat veterans, this day, which has a history stretching back all the way to the Civil War, is an important reminder of those who died in the service of their country.
Memorial Day has become both, a National Decoration Day of Veterans and of family graves. It is celebrated with backyard barbecues, outdoor picnics, and parades.
In many families, the “Memorial” in Memorial Day has been devalued by too many individuals who are actually beneficiaries of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. Often we do not observe the holiday as it should be observed; a day where we actively remember our ancestors, family members, loved ones, friends and neighbors who have given their lives for their country.
We can give true homage to Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and placing flags or flowers on the graves of our fallen heroes, by visiting memorials, by flying the U.S. Flag at half-staff until Noon, by flying the “POW/MIA Flag” as well, by participating in a “National Moment of Remembrance” at 3 p.m. on Memorial Day to pause and contemplate upon the true meaning of the day and by considering a commitment to aid the widows, widowers and orphans of our fallen dead, and to aid the often forgotten and disabled veterans.
Today, most states officially recognize the May Memorial Day as a legal holiday, but it is not celebrated on May 30th in every state. Over time the holiday has expanded to encompass our other national wars. Although Veteran’s Day is celebrated as well. Memorial Day has become the most important day of recognition of our Armed Forces.
Wings Over Kansas recommends that you visit two web sites. The first, White House Commission On Remembrance, One Nation, One Moment at http://remember.gov/ and second, the AARP Veterans Home Page at http://www.aarp.org/veterans/.