Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan. It was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.
The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war).
It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis’ birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.
The traditional observance of Memorial Day has gone by the wayside. It’s to time consuming. It’s another day for progress and commerce. It’s not important to remember why we remember. Many Americans have forgotten, or chosen to forget, the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. Many people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, not just those fallen in service to our country.
There are a great many graves of the fallen that are ignored and neglected. Many people don’t remember, or even care for the proper flag etiquette for this day. While some towns and smaller cities still have a Memorial Day Parade many, especially the larger ones have stopped hosting them. It’s too much trouble to tie up traffic and disturd the retail businesses.
So, as we go about celebrating sales and having family Bar-B-Que, or going out on the boat, after all, we don’t have to go to work today, here are a few reasons to remember what this day is all about.
Help bring meaning back to Memorial Day.
It really is a quite simple mission. Then again, maybe not.
Your Mission is to send a message of hope to our soldiers and their families.
Your Mission is to honor them and pay tribute to their comrades who have paid the ultimate price.
Your Mission is to ignore the white sales, ignore the electronic “blow outs” and, wait a few days before buying your new car truck or SUV.
Your Mission is to remember that Memorial Day is a National Day of Mourning and Remembrance for the sons and daughters, the mothers, the fathers, the sisters and the brothers who have died so we may live and enjoy freedom, democracy, and yes, even the capitalism that retail companies have used to make profit upon the memories of our dead.
We do not need a Podcast to make it real.
We do not need a protest.
We do not need to Market Memorial Day and make it hip to remember.
Here are my questions to you: Do you accept your mission? Do you accept this challenge to hold this day in reverence? Do you accept this one day as a time we pay tribute to our fallen heroes?
If you think this is just another day off from work, if you think this is the weekend to by that electronic gadget or new car, if you value the sale more than the meaning of Memorial Day, then you are ignoring the sacrifices of those Fallen Heroes who have died giving you those freedoms we all hold so dear.
Will you accept Your Mission? Will you remember our fallen on Memorial Day?