Memorial Day – It’s not just another three day weekend

When I began thinking about the first blog post for the relaunch of the website, I had hundreds of ideas flood my brain.  There are so many areas of the website that still need to flourish; but when I looked at the calendar I knew instantly the topic I wanted to cover, Memorial Day.  Growing up in a military family I was always sensitive to the sacrifices made by all of our military service men and women and I always remember that some had to give it all leaving behind mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters.

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As a child Memorial Day was always the beginning of Summer Vacation.  The pool was usually warm enough to swim and my dad, if he was home, would typically BBQ chicken and my mom would make baked beans and potato salad.  I remember having gatherings with other service families as well, one of my favorites is when we were stationed in Hawaii because there was always Kailua pork.  I remember being fascinated that they took a whole pig and slow roasted it in the ground which made it so tender and it had an amazing flavor that just cannot be duplicated.  It is hard for me to believe that was twenty years ago and since then my dad has gotten out of the service; my brother joined and was medically released; and, my sister’s husband is finishing up his term this Summer and will be going to college while in the National Guard.  Despite knowing the sacrifices, my family just like many American families focus on food, but that isn’t what Memorial Day is all about.

I was curious to know how did Memorial Day become one of our nations 10 federal holidays and so my research began.  Since I know as the mothers our time to read is fleeting here is a brief synopsis of the history behind Memorial Day:  Some local areas had begun placing flowers on the graves of fallen Civil War soldiers in 1966 just after the Civil War ended.  This led to the GAR instituting Decoration Day on May 30, 1968 as a way to honor the fallen service members of the Civil War by placing a flower on each grave.  It is believed that they chose May 30th because throughout most of the country flowers are in bloom by this time.

Over the next century the name changed to Memorial Day; made official by the U.S. govt in 1967.  It also went on to include all soldiers who have died protecting and serving our Great Nation.  In 1968, the government passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act which moved the date to the last Monday in May. The act was effective in 1971 allowing federal employees more three-day weekends.  It is because of this act that we will celebrate and remember the fallen soldiers this coming Monday, May 25th.

In the midst of my reading I found another interesting fact, in 2000, the government passed “The National Moment of Remembrance Act” which “encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation.”

So as you go about your Memorial Day festivities whether it be by a pool, on a hike, or at home please remember those who have fallen for our country.  My family has decided to set an alarm for 3 p.m. to have a minute of silence followed by prayer; I hope you will join me!

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