Many people celebrate Memorial Day weekend with barbecues and gatherings. However, Memorial Day holds a much deeper significance than simply marking the beginning of summer. It is a solemn day dedicated to honoring the men and women who have lost their lives in U.S. military service. It should not be confused with Veteran's Day, which acknowledges the service of military veterans, or Armed Forces Day, which pays tribute to those currently serving.
Memorial Day originated after the Civil War in 1868, known at the time as Decoration Day. It was established by Union veterans as an occasion to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers with flowers. Since then, this somber holiday has been officially observed at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. Additionally, in 2000, Congress passed the National Moment of Remembrance Act, urging Americans to observe a moment of silence at 3 p.m. to remember those who have died in service. James Garfield, in his Decoration Day address at Arlington in 1868, captured the enduring essence of Memorial Day with the following words: "I am oppressed with a sense of the impropriety of uttering words on this occasion. If silence is ever golden, it must be here beside the graves of fifteen thousand men, whose lives were more significant than speech, and whose death was a poem, the music of which can never be sung."
Some important facts about Memorial Day include its initial focus on honoring soldiers who died in the Civil War, which has since expanded to include all U.S. veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice. According to the U.S. Flag Code, the proper way to display the American Flag on Memorial Day is to hoist it quickly to full staff at sunrise, then lower it to half-staff until noon, and finally return it to the top of the staff.
In 1971, Memorial Day was officially established as a federal holiday, observed on the last Monday in May. Poppies have become a symbol of Memorial Day due to their mention in the 1915 poem "In Flanders Fields" by Canadian soldier John McCrae. Furthermore, the Lincoln Memorial was dedicated by then-Chief Justice William Taft on Memorial Day in 1922. It is a tradition for American presidents to deliver a speech at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on this significant day.
ESD 11 expresses its gratitude to all fallen heroes, whose courage has bestowed upon us the freedoms we are fortunate to enjoy. We sincerely thank you for your service.
... See MoreSee Less
5 days ago