We celebrate Memorial Day next Monday, May 25. While we usually blog about our thrift shop or our ALI activities, this time we’d like to remind our blog readers of the history of Memorial Day. It’s easy to get caught up in the three-day weekend, the sales at the mall, and various sports events, and forget why we have a Memorial Day holiday each year.
Memorial Day honors those who have died while serving in our armed forces. It began shortly after the Civil War as “Decoration Day,” in remembrance of the Union and Confederate soldiers who lost their lives in battle. As time passed, the observance was extended to include all those who have given their lives in military service for the nation. “Memorial Day” became the official name of the holiday in 1967. It’s different from Veterans Day in November, when we honor all those who have served in the military.
In the years following the Civil War, this day was much more personal than it is for most of us now. The nation’s population was much smaller, and practically everyone had either lost a family member in the war, or knew someone who had. For most of us this is no longer the case, but we should take time on Memorial Day to remember those who made this ultimate sacrifice for our country. Fly the flag, attend one of the Memorial Day services here in Irvine, and talk with your children about the meaning of this holiday. Enjoy the extra day off, your neighborhood barbecue, and the Indianapolis 500 – but take a moment to remember those who made it possible for you to do so.