The Meaning of Memorial Day
We looked forward to Memorial Day because we got a three-day weekend and a day off from work when I was working full time. It was a way to extend our first summer vacation without using all our vacation time at work. Families got together for picnics and parties, but this isn’t what Memorial Day is all about.
Memorial Day was created as a holiday, originally on May 30th, but is now celebrated on the last Monday in May. It is a day to remember those who died on active service in the military.
History.com provides the historical aspects of the day. It was initially known as Decoration Day and originated in the years following the civil war, and became an official federal holiday in 1971.
Many Americans visit the graves of loved ones who have died, in the military or not. It is a day of Remembrance of those who had gone before and provided us with the freedoms we currently have now. Many cities and towns have parades on this day. And for those who aren’t into Remembrance, it marks the first day of summer.
Memorial Day Traditions
According to Barbara Maranzani, in an article about things we should know about Memorial Day, we didn’t start holding events in the United States until the late 19th century. However, the Romans and Greeks had annual days of Remembrance that date for thousands of years.
In many countries, people wear red poppies on Memorial Day. After World War I, this tradition was inspired by the poem “In Flanders Field.”
What does Memorial Day mean in our Modern World?
Memorial Day in today’s times is still essential as a time to remember because we have to remember what has gone before and, unfortunately, what is still happening in our world — the settling of disagreements with violence. Here are some examples.
- The invasion of Ukraine by Russia is a violent war, with many dying unnecessarily.
- The threat of an invasion of Taiwan by China and our potential intervention is also concerning.
- Gun violence in our schools and marketplaces.
Memorial Day should be a Day of Remembrance, but more importantly, it should be a day of decisions to end violence first in the United States than in the world.
Ending violence is not a flip-the-switch fix; it will require decades of dialogue and a mindset change. The necessary mindset change will recognize that we are all the same humans. It will need us to learn compassion for others, not just when they are hurt, but before they get hurt.
Ending violence requires taking steps to solve, in a balanced fashion, “the right to bear arms” and the need to protect our children. “Red flag laws” may be the answer, but we may need to combine them with more robust background checks.
Most importantly, our elected officials must remember that they were elected to serve all the people and ensure our liberty and freedom.
I believe our flag is more than just cloth and ink. It is a universally recognized symbol that stands for liberty and freedom. It is the history of our nation, and it’s marked by the blood of those who died defending it. John Thune
Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. Eleanor Roosevelt