Memorial Day means something much, much bigger than the start of summer. The day feels fraught with memories of those we've lost, mixed with gratitude for the times we've had. While it is true that every day is Memorial Day for the families of the fallen, they aren't asking that you stay inside and wallow. But we do owe it to them to pause. Reflect. Remember. Honor.
Here’s what they all mean:
Memorial Day: Celebrated the last Monday in May, Memorial Day is a somber holiday dedicated to honor military fallen, with a special focus on those killed during military service or through enemy contact.
The website for the United States Department of Veterans Affairs recounts the start of Memorial Day this way:
“Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.”
The passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971 by Congress made it an official holiday.
Veterans Day: This federal holiday falls on November 11 and is designated as a day to honor all who have served in the military. According to Military.com, Veterans Day began as Armistice Day to honor the end of World War I, which officially took place on November 11, 1918.
“In 1954, after having been through both World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress — at the urging of the veterans service organizations — amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting the word “Veterans,” the site says. “With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, November 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.”
Also, for good measure, we will also post some information about Labor Day because, believe it or not, we’ve seen folks thanking troops on that holiday.
Labor Day: The first Monday in September, honors the contributions of American workers, not the military.
The Department of Labor says it is “a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”
There you have it, Lt. Dan
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