Memorial Day

Today, as in the past, we commemorate Memorial Day by reflecting on the sacrifice of those who have given their lives in military service
Medals of Honor.

Today, as in the past, we commemorate Memorial Day by reflecting on the sacrifice of those who have given their lives in military service.

Memorial Day was originally named Decoration Day but was changed in 1967 once people began to refer to it as Memorial Day following World War II. In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, establishing Memorial Day as the last Monday in May. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.

Memorial Day is meant to honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. However, some will confuse it with Veterans Day, which is for honoring military veterans of the United States Armed Forces who are still here today.

Mark Reinstein/Corbis/Getty Images

It’s important to remember that this holiday is not a happy one, but a mournful one for many people. You can honor those who gave their lives for us by visiting cemeteries and memorials or by donating to causes like The Memorial Day Foundation. “The Memorial Day Foundation is dedicated to never forgetting those Americans who died serving their country in defense of freedom and liberty and their families who loved them and whom they loved.” (The Memorial Day Foundation

During World War II, more than 400,000 military service members sacrificed their lives for our freedom. Many of us fail to understand the gravity of their sacrifice because it is unfathomable. The World War II generation is nicknamed “the greatest generation” for a reason. It is because of Day G. Turner and soldiers like him that we live in a free country. “They gave all of their tomorrows for our wonderful todays.” (Mike Stachowiak

Day G. Turner (The Hall of Valor Project)

Day G. Turner was born in Berwick, Pennsylvania, and lived in Nescopeck, Pennsylvania. He ranked as a Sergeant in the U.S. Army and was awarded for his bravery during World War II. He served with Company B, 1st Battalion, 319th Infantry Regiment, 80th Infantry Division, in action at Dahl, Luxembourg, Luxembourg.

When overwhelming numbers of the enemy attacked under cover of withering artillery, mortar, and rocket fire, Day G. Turner withdrew his squad into a nearby house, determined to defend it to the last man. Sergeant Turner received a Medal of Honor on January 8, 1945, for his heroic actions. To read more about his citation, visit The Hall of Valor Project, a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.

It is our responsibility to honor and show respect for those who gave their lives for our freedom. Without their courage and integrity, we wouldn’t be where we are today. They deserve recognition and we, as American citizens, owe them everything. Memorial Day is not a one-dimensional holiday, and shouldn’t be overlooked as a day off. It should be taken as an opportunity to show appreciation and gratitude towards all the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for us. “Freedom isn’t free.” (Colonel Walter Hitchcock)

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