Memorial Day – Let Us Not Forget
Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America. It is a day to honor our fallen men and women.
While it’s never a mistake to thank a vet for his service, today is not about our veterans. Today is the one day each year when we honor the men who died in the service of our nation.
The United States has lost men in three dozen conflicts dating from the Revolutionary War to the war in Iraq. Americans have died fighting for their country and their country’s political/military goals in every corner of the map. Our servicemen have died on the beaches of Normandy, the rolling fields of Virginia, the jungles of Vietnam, the mountains of Afghanistan and the shores of Tripoli.
More than a million Americans have died in the service of our country. Each one a very personal tragedy for the men and their families.
Begun as a way to honor those who died fighting the Civil War, Memorial Day evolved to honor Americans who died fighting in any war. The original date May 30th was chosen because it did not fall on the anniversary of any specific battle. In 1971, Memorial Day (along with several other federal holidays) was moved to the last Monday in May to create a three-day weekend.
In retrospect, the creation of the three-day Memorial Day weekend seems to have diluted the importance of the holiday.
According to Veterans of Foreign Wars organization “Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed greatly to the general public’s nonchalant observance of Memorial Day.”
And, I might add, misunderstanding of the holiday. In November we honor the service of all our men and women. Today we honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice and didn’t come home.
Before his passing, Senator Daniel Inouye, A World War II veteran, filed legislation to change the observance of Memorial Day back to May 30th. Others continue working to restore the traditional date to honor our war dead.
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Tags: Decoration Day, Holiday, Memorial Day, War Dead