Why We Celebrate Memorial Day?

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Why We Celebrate Memorial Day?

We all know that Memorial Day is an American holiday that is observed the last Monday of May.  But do you know why we celebrate this holiday?  Memorial Day’s purpose is to honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.

We all know that Memorial Day is an American holiday that is observed the last Monday of May.  But do you know why we celebrate this holiday?  Memorial Day’s purpose is to honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.   It is a very somber day to me as I remember my family members, fellow veterans, and military members who have lost their lives while serving this great country.  Also, I also remember those that served in the military.  Many veterans may have made it back from military conflicts but they did not come back whole.  It is those veterans that need to be kept in our thoughts and prayers as well.

I remember growing up in a small town in upstate, New York.  (Yes, New York does have small towns.) Each Memorial Day, our city would honor each former resident that lost their life while serving in the U.S. military. As a youngster, I did not grasp the significance of this day until after I served in military conflicts.

History

Memorial Day, which was initially known as Decoration Day. Our ancestors started remembering service members killed in action after the Civil War.  While this holiday was celebrated, it did not become an official federal holiday until 1971.  I have wondered why it took our Government so long to create this holiday.  There were many wars or conflicts before 1971 that would have brought this to their attention before this date.  But better late than never. For more information on the history of Memorial Day.

Birthplace of Memorial Day

I never realized that Memorial Day had a birthplace, but it does. In 1966, the U.S. Government declared Waterloo, New York as the official birthplace of Memorial Day.  The reason Waterloo, New York?  Well, because each year that city hosted an annual, community-wide event.  During this event, local businesses were closed, and residents decorated the graves of military members with flowers and flags. Maybe the U.S. Government realized that many communities have independently held memorial gatherings to remember our military members and decided that we needed to memorialize the day.

National Moment of Remembrance

 For those that were not aware, each year on Memorial Day, a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.  Join me for a moment of silence as we remember these brave individuals.

 Traditions

Americans have many cultures to celebrate the day.  Some people will visit cemeteries or memorials.  Others will hold family gatherings and participate in parades.  Still, others will travel to the great outdoors and camp, fish or ride UTVs. Me? I prefer to stay home and reflect on those that made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives to defend our country. 

I believe that each of us celebrates the holiday based upon our traditions or past experiences.  It is a day that needs to be remembered for that I am sure.  I hope that those of you with young children will come up with your tradition so that every American understands the significance of this day.

Does Our Younger Generation understand the importance of Memorial Day?

We need to teach the younger generations the importance of our history and why we have the traditions that we do.  I am not sure if our more youthful generations know why we celebrate this day.  I cannot answer that question. But I hope that they will learn the reasons why and carry on the tradition.   Don’t let Memorial Day mean you just the start of the summer season.

Contact Nancy at nancy@byerlyenterprises.com
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