Some of us get mixed up on what Memorial Day means. In Speedway, IN, it’s the weekend of the Indy 500. In many backyards of the USA, it means time for a barbecue with neighbors, and a much needed three-day weekend. But Memorial Day, the last Monday of May, is set aside to honor the men and women who died while serving in our military forces. Known as Decoration Day after the Civil War, the massive amount of lives lost necessitated the establishing of our national cemeteries. The ritual of honoring those lost in the War took root across the nation, and tributes were scheduled to honor the fallen soldiers, decorating graves with flowers and prayers on this day in late spring. It became an official holiday in 1971. Each year flags are planted on the 400,000 graves in Arlington National Cemetery. Many will visit the graves of family and friends to pay their respects.
On this Memorial Day, we strive to honor what the day really means. Since it is signaling the start of summer, barbecues and cookouts and trips are planned, and hooray for some family fun. But in the midst of joy and social times, let us stop for at least a moment to thank those who have kept us free and safe. Let us honor the servicemen and women who have died, whether in a conflict, war, or otherwise, with a moment of quiet respect, a display of the flag in their honor, or decorations on a grave. They gave so much and they deserve this day of remembrance, just for them.
To all my veteran friends and family whose brothers and sisters-in-arms have passed, I am sorry for your loss. I, with you, salute their service.
Peace to all.