Growing up, my parents had a special Memorial Day tradition, we followed as our own. And that was to bring flowers from our gardens in the yard to his parents’ graves. (my grandparents) While there, we would always make it a point to take a big group family picture in front of one of the war monuments in the cemetery. We would also visit graves of some of the war heroes that were buried there. My Dad would start preparing at the start of Memorial Day weekend. He would wash out big glass jugs to put the fresh cut flowers in and talk to the rest of our family to see who would be going and then make all the travel arrangements. The cemetery was really only about a 35-45 minute drive, but we would usually have a big ‘convoy’ of cars driven by Aunts and Uncles, holding cousins, brothers and sisters. I so looked forward to this trip every Memorial Day.
Memorial Day is known as a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in our country’s military. The holiday, originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868, when the Grand Army of the Republic, established it as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the Union war with flowers. By the 20th century, Memorial Day eventually extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service. It also marks the start of summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks the end of the season.
Memorial Day holiday is much more than a three-day weekend. It is meant to reflect on the true meaning of the day, which is to honor America’s fallen heroes and be thankful to them for their efforts and their profound patriotism.
Memorial Day is also the time to think about and give help to the families, widows and orphans of the war heroes. Many memorial sites are located all over America and it is our duty to honor the memories of these unknown and distinguished soldiers by decorating their graves with flowers and lighting candles on them. ‘Taps’ is the standard music piece recognized by the Army and played at military funerals since 1891. Memorial Day seeks to stir the patriotic feelings of every American citizen and to remind them that they owe their freedom and liberty to the finest of young men and women who laid down their lives for them.
“Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow;
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain;
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush;
I am in the graceful rush.
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the star shine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I do not die.” written by Mary Frye 1932
Ways To Observe Memorial Day
- Visiting cemeteries and memorials.
- Adorning the graves of the soldiers with flags or flowers.
- Flying the American Flag at half-mast until noon.
- Flying the ‘POW/MIA Flag’.
- Keep a moment of silence for 1 minute at 3 p.m., ‘National Moment of Remembrance’ and listen to Taps being played.
- Take a pledge to help the disabled veterans, widows, widowers and orphans of the dead.
- Offering thanks to the veterans and appreciating the ultimate sacrifices of the soldiers to the bereaved families.
- You may even support the efforts to restore the traditional day of observance of Memorial Day back to May 30th.
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Some of the information from this Memorial Day article was found at http://www.thememorialdaytribute.com/