I was truly shocked today when a girl asked me, “What is Memorial Day exactly? What are we celebrating for?” I was really sad upon hearing this for her common naivety, and the realization that a national holiday has been almost entirely lost and forgotten.
Here are some things you might not know about this quite somber holiday. (Drives me crazy to hear people say, “Happy Memorial Day.” It’s not supposed to be a happy day.)
•Originally called Decoration Day
•Celebrated the last Monday of May (3 day weekend!)
•For all of those who served in the United States Military, and fell during service. This is the day to remember our soldiers, past and present.
•Traditions practiced on Memorial Day, such as the decorating of the soldiers’ resting places, date back to the Civil War.
•Memorial Day was proclaimed 5 May 1868 by General John Logan and observed 30 May 1868
•New York was the first state to recognize the holiday in 1873
•The north and south at one point celebrated different days, and some southern states recognize and additional day for for their confederate soldiers.
•Red poppies are now the symbol of Memorial Day, beginning with real ones in 1915 and later began using the faux flower.
•Money raised by selling the poppies went to service men in need. Madam Guerin of France carried the tradition to her country and raised money for war orphaned children and widowed women.
•The flag etiquette for today states flags should be flown at half-staff until noon, and lowered properly.
•Graves were once honored with flowers only and now more commonly small American Flags.
•Since the late 50’s on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 1,200 soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing.
•To help re-educate Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to “Taps.”
I’m a child of a military family. I take this holiday so seriously that I crashed my Mothers Memorial Day gathering and decided I was going to be born early. Anyways that’s all off topic. PLEASE keep traditions strong and be aware that Memorial Day is not day of celebration but a day of respect. It’s absolutely not a holiday meant for heaving drinking and lack of memory.
I love soldiers. Sometimes they think I’m cool too. I also love cats, so without any further ado I share this wonderful collection of photos with you today. Don’t forget, 3pm take a moment of silence. Don’t be late, that could be awkward.
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