Memorial Day marks the beginning of the summer season (even though Summer doesn’t really start until late June). It’s a national holiday. Banks and schools are closed and there’s no mail delivery.
In the old days, school was out by Memorial Day and didn’t start again until after Labor day.
As a kid, that’s all Memorial Day was about for me—the beginning of summer and picnics and no school.
And, yes, it’s all that, but it’s so much more.
Memorial Day is a day for solemn remembrance, a day dedicated to American service men and women who died while serving in the U.S. Military. It’s a reminder that “troops” are people and “casualties” are sons and daughters who’ll never come home.
According to US Memorial Day website, the day of remembrance started as Decoration Day in 1868, after the end of the Civil War. “On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.”
It became an official national holiday in 1971.
Now, on Memorial Day, the last Monday in May, Americans are encouraged to observe a moment of silence at 3pm wherever they are to honor those who died while in service to our nation.
Let’s enjoy the holiday. Have a picnic. Take advantage of a sale or two. And remember those servicemen and women who never came home.