Memorial Day and its history

Shiann Parsons, Student Writer

 

 

Have you ever wondered what Memorial Day is, and what the real purpose of it is? Memorial Day is a special American holiday that we use to remember the fallen soldiers, men and women, who have died during their active military service. Remembering them is important because they fought for our country and did their best to protect us while trying to protect themselves as well. They fought and risked their lives for other people who could not defend themselves. This day was usually celebrated on May 30; it is now held on the last Monday in May.

According to history.com, Decoration Day, which is what Memorial Day was originally named, was first called upon by General John A. Logan on May 5, 1868, for remembrance of the soldiers. But, Decoration Day was made an official federal holiday in 1971. He declared that May 30th is designated for the decorating of graves. On the first Decoration Day they ever had, James Garfield made a speech at the Arlington National Cemetery where 5,000 participated with decorating the graves and 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.

On Memorial Day along with remembering the soldiers, people often visit cemeteries, hold events with family, and also participate in local parades. Families and friends decorate their fallen soldiers’ graves with wreaths, flowers, and flags while reciting prayers. Each year on Memorial Day a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3 p.m to represent the fallen men and women.

Many may think that Memorial Day and Veterans Day are one in the same. They both still deal with military and people being in the service, but have a big difference when compared to one another. Memorial Day is a U.S public holiday where you represent the men and women soldiers that are fallen. Typically you have gatherings, decorate graves, or have parades. Now, Veterans Day is where you celebrate the fact that the soldiers fighting for themselves and our countries. For Veterans Day people often have parties or gatherings for their friends and family that served in the military, flying the American flag outside your house, or even volunteering at Veterans facilities. But also, don’t forget to thank them all and for their service.

Celebrating these holidays aren’t something you are required to do, but should. You can also show your thanks and support them by giving donations. Some places around the times of the holidays like stores or churches or just somewhere in your community may take donations. When celebrating them it shows that you care and are thankful for the ones that are fallen and for the ones that are still fighting now and risking their lives fighting for us. Showing respect to them is important and they most likely appreciate it and should make them feel special.