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Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed annually in the United States on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the fallen Union Soldiers of the Civil War. By the 20th century Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died in all wars. Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serviing in the United States Armed Forces. As a marker it typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.
Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries. By the early 20th century, memorial Day was an occasion for more general expressions of memory, as people visited the graves of their deceased relatives in church cemeteries, whether they had served in the military or not. It also became a long weekend increasingly devoted to shopping, family gatherings, fireworks, trips to the beach, and national media events such as the Indianapolis 500 auto race, held since 1911 on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.
The "Memorial" in Memorial Day has been ignored by too many of us who are beneficiaries of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. Often we do not observe the day as it should be, a day where we actively remember our ancestors, our family members, our loved ones, our neighbors, and our friends who have given the ultimate sacrifice.
By visiting cemeteries and placing flags or flowers on graves of our fallen heroes, visiting memorials, by flying the U.S. Flag at half-staff until noon, by flying the POW/MIA flag , participating in the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. to pause and think upon the true meaning of the day, and for Taps to be played. by renewing a pledge to aid the widows, widowers, and orphans of our falled dead, and to aid the disabled veterans.
Also, please consider adding your voice in support of the efforts to restore the traditional day of observance of Memorial Day back to May 30th(instead of the last Monday in May). This would help greatly to return the solemn meaning back to the day, and help return minds and hearts to think upon the ultimate sacrifices made by those in service to our country. Just one day in conflicts and wars not to honor war, but those that died in those conflicts and wars.
Have a safe and happy memorial day to all.