As we approach this annual holiday weekend, it is a good idea for us to reflect on the meaning of being able to observe this federal holiday.
First of all, Memorial Day is always celebrated on the last Monday of May. It was formerly known as Decoration Day. The special day was declared in 1868, by General John Logan, the National Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic.
The very first Memorial Day was observed on May 30th, 1868 by placing flowers on the graves of Union and Confederate Soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. Finally, in 1871, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holidays to be celebrated yearly on the last Monday in May.
Memorial Day has classically become the marking of the beginning of summer vacation season, and Labor Day, the closing of summer.
Memorial Day has reached beyond remembering and honoring the soldiers from the civil war or any war, to actually honoring the deceased whether they were military or not. Families have learned to celebrate with picnics, family reunions or get-together’s, to fireworks displays and parades, not to mention the Indianapolis 500 auto race which is held every year since 1911 on Memorial Day.
On a consumer note, most sales are big on Memorial Day Weekend. Many people take advantage of the savings to shop that weekend.
Mostly however, in Washington, DC, Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died while serving our country. The monuments are a heavy attraction during this holiday. The usual celebration and this year is no different, is the National Memorial Day Concert, the National Memorial Day Parade that includes marching bands and veteran units from all 50 states. The parade is sponsored by World War II Veterans Committee and normally includes patriotic floats and USA helium-filled balloons.
There is also the Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally where thousands of motorcycles ride through Washington in an annual demonstration promoting the initiative to improve veteran benefits and resolve POW/MIA issues.
Monday, May 30, 2011, 11 a.m. A wreath-laying ceremony and concert will be held at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in honor of Memorial Day.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial-Monday, May 30, 2011, 1 p.m.
This year’s annual Memorial Day ceremony includes Presentation of the Colors, remarks by a special guest and wreath-laying service.
Whether in Washington or your own home-town, millions of Americans will be reaching out to our service men living and deceased to honor their love and dedication to the United States, which stands united through any type of war, disaster, or less than perfect politics.
God Bless America this Memorial Day Weekend.