Memorial Day has become an all inclusive holiday, throughout the years, to honor the brave men and women who have died in America’s wars. Originally known as Decoration Day…it was a time designated to honor America’s Civil War dead. It became widely observed around May 30, 1868, with graves being decorated in commemoration. The federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day (in 1966) because it had been the first location to celebrate the day, one hundred years earlier. The townspeople of Waterloo closed businesses and the residents placed flowers and flags on the soldiers’ graves. Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday (in 1971) to be observed the last Monday in May. Sometimes, Memorial Day is confused with Veterans Day which is celebrated on November 11th and honors all veterans, living and deceased. If you had to choose the most celebrated area for Memorial Day, it would have to be at Arlington National Cemetery where it is customary for either the president or vice-president to make a speech of gratitude…one honoring the fallen who have allowed America to remain free. Whether you visit one of the nation’s cemeteries, attend a church service, or simply go on a “day-off” outing…please take time out to remember those who paid the ultimate price for your liberty.
Note: Few wake up with a plan to be a hero; most start off with a plan to be a good person.
May God bless America…and may America deserve it.
Zanne Booker 5-23-09