Understanding Memorial Day
Memorial Day is often designated as the unofficial first day of summer in the United States. Across America, youth baseball and soccer tournaments are occurring alongside family get-togethers and mini-vacations. While Memorial Day provides for a wonderful long weekend to enjoy outdoor activities, it is important to not forget the origins of the holiday.
Memorial Day originated in the mid-nineteenth century following the Surrender at Appomattox and the conclusion of the Civil War – known as “Decoration Day” – a day to honor the U.S. soldiers of both the Union and the Confederacy that had fallen during the Civil War. Until the start of The Great War, Decoration Day was a state affair (regulated by each individual state), but the holiday quickly provided the entire country a day to honor fallen American soldiers of all U.S. wars.
Following World War 2, Decoration Day gradually became known as Memorial Day, and Congress passed a bill in 1968 noting that Memorial Day would be a Federal Holiday that occurred on the last Monday in May, making it the holiday that we know today. However, it is becoming common for individuals to not understand the true meaning of having the last day in May off of work. Memorial Day is a day to honor all fallen American servicemen: from the hundreds of thousand estimated dead during The Civil War to the most recent casualties in the War on Terror.
Without our American Armed Forces, the U.S.A. would truly be a different country, and we would not be able to enjoy the freedom to do what we want, enjoy and depend on each day. In respect to the sacrifice of all fallen servicemen and the families they have left behind, we are truly thankful. So please get outside and do something physical and enjoy the freedom to do so, but don't forget to appreciate the men and women who provide it.