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Memorial Day- A Remembrance

Updated on October 8, 2014

America Celebrates Memorial Day

Memorial Day is for many just another three day weekend. Somehow, along the years, we have lost the significance of what the day really comemorates. It's time for more of us to spend some time on this very significant holiday thinking about what Memorial Day is really all about. There should be more to Memorial Day than just sales and barbeques. It's time that we all take the time to get back to basics about this significant holiday. If we don't teach the generations to come why we celebrate this day, will it lose it's meaning entirely?

Where Memorial Day Started
Where Memorial Day Started

How Memorial Day Started

Also called Decoration Day, Memorial Day was started as a day to remember those who had given there lives for thier country. it was begun as a reconcilliation act to remember soliers who died on both the North and South side of the Civil War. Later, it was extended to World War One Soldiers and finally to all soldiers who had given the ultimate sacrifice for thier country.

It wa officially proclaimed on May 5th, 1868 by by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, It was first observed on May 30th 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery

During the first celebration of Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, after which 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried in the cemetery.

In 1966, the federal government, under the direction of President Lyndon Johnson, declared Waterloo, N.Y., the official birthplace of Memorial Day. They chose Waterloo—which had first celebrated the day on May 5, 1866—because the town had made Memorial Day an annual, community-wide event during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags.

Flags For Memorial Day
Flags For Memorial Day

Memorial Day Traditions

Traditional Observances

While many Americans visit cemeteries and memorials, a national moment of remeberance takes place at 3pm local time. Another tradition is to fly the American Flag from Dawn till noon at half staff to remember those who have passed in the service of thier country.

Today, one of the most inspiring traditions occurs every Memorial Day in our National Veterans Cemeteries. When a veteran passes, the relative receieves a large flag to commerate that service. The family member has the option of donating that flag back to the cemetary. This flag are flown on the roadways of the cemearies to honor those who have passed. This is awesome to knwo that each flag represents the lives of those who served.

How To Celebrate Memorial Day

While Memorial Day is a day to think about those who have died in the name of freedom, there is more to our celebrations. We can also honor those who live and serve in our armed forces or who have served. Here are some traditions that you can adopt to your Memorial Day to make it more memorable.

  1. Visit the graves of soldiers and place flowers or flags there
  2. Fly an American flag at half staff until noon
  3. Keep silence for a minute at 3 p.m., 'National Moment of Remembrance' and listen to Taps being played.
  4. Talk to your children and grandchildren about the meaning of Memorial Day
  5. Create a scrapbook about those family members who were or are in the armed forces
  6. Send a note of thanks to those who are serving or have served in the armed forces

Flags Large And Small - Honor Those Who Gave The Most They Had To Give

We honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice by flying the American flag on Memorial Day. Show your respect with flags flying at your home

National Memorial Day Concert
National Memorial Day Concert

Modern Memorial Day Traditions

Celebrating Memorial Day

There are some traditions that go beyond those special observances that are uniquely American. They are fun and define who we are.

The National Memorial Day Concerttakes place on the West lawn of the Capitol.It is broadcast on PBS. It has special music that reflects our respect for those who died in the service of thier country.

Indianapolis 500This race has been run on the Saturday before Memorial Day since 1911

Coca-Cola 600 Stock Car Race has been ruinning on the same Saturday, but later ,as the Indianapolis 500 since 1961

Memorial Day Quotes

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty. -John F. Kennedy

VFW Buddy Poppy
VFW Buddy Poppy

The Poppy Tradition

Moina Michael in 1915, inspired by the poem, In Flander Fields, conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial Day in honor of those who served in war.She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Later a Madam Guerin from France was visiting the United States and learned of this new custom started by Ms.Michael and when she returned to France, made artificial red poppies to raise money for war orphaned children and widowed women. This tradition spread to other countries. In 1921, the Franco-American Children's League sold poppies nationally to benefit war orphans of France and Belgium. The League disbanded a year later and Madam Guerin approached the VFW for help. Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922 the VFW became the first veterans' organization to nationally sell poppies. Two years later their "Buddy" Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. In 1948 the US Post Office honored Ms Michael for her role in founding the National Poppy movement by issuing a red 3 cent postage stamp with her likeness on it.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

General John A. Logan

We cherish too, the Poppy red

That grows on fields where valor led,

It seems to signal to the skies

That blood of heroes never dies.

Moina Michael

Viet Nam Vets-A Tribute

A Memorial Day Moment Of Silence

Each year on Memorial Day a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.How did it all start? In Washington Dc a survey of children was taken by a humanitarian group called No Greater Love' . The question asked waswhy did the children think there was a Memorial Day Celebration? The answers were mostly about parades, barbeques and parties.the organization came up with the idea of 'National Moment of Remembrance' to remind and especially, let the future generations know about the real meaning of the holiday. The idea clicked with the President and Congress and since 1997, it became a standard American tradition. National Moment of Remembrance requires everybody to keep silent for a minute, exactly at 3.00 pm (local time) when 'Taps' is played and reflect on the glory of those who have shed blood for us. The federal government hopes to raise public awareness about the heroes and their valor by introducing this moment.

We All Remember

Memorial Day Quotes

The story of America's quest for freedom is inscribed on her history in the blood of her patriots. -Randy Vader

Your Memorial Day - Great Suggestions For Memorial Day

Here are some things you and your family can do to Make the holiday worth remembering

Three Day Memorial Weekend - Did It Erode The Meaning Of The Day?

Many feel that when Congress made the day into a three-day weekend in with the National Holiday Act of 1971, it made it all the easier for people to be distracted from the spirit and meaning of the day. As the VFW stated in its 2002 Memorial Day address: "Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed greatly to the general public's nonchalant observance of Memorial Day."

There's nothing wrong with a picnic or a barbeque on the holiday ! We just wanted to remind everyone to take a moment to remember the meaning of the holiday-too often lost. So what are your plans, traditions or celebrations? No matter how you observe, we hope you will hhave a safe Happy Memorial Day !

How will You Celebrate ?

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