Memorial Day is more than just a 3 day weekend
Memorial Day is more than just a three day weekend. Most people tend to take the holiday as a “day off” to celebrate and bbq, when the holiday is much more than that. It is not just a day to spend in the sunshine with food, it is a day that we should take as an opportunity to be grateful and pay our respects. Memorial Day is a day to honor those who fought for our country and the lives that were lost while doing so. Many people do not realize how important this holiday can be to some people, it is not just a three day weekend to most. Even though it is important to celebrate and appreciate the lives that helped free our country, it is also important to acknowledge the more serious aspects of the holiday.
Memorial Day is a not only a day of remembrance but also a day to celebrate freedom. The history behind this holiday is deep. In fact, we have been celebrating it dating back to the 1800s. Here are 10 facts about Memorial Day that you may have not known.
- Originally, Memorial Day was a holiday to celebrate the soldiers who fought in the Civil War, but was later changed to celebrate all those who fought regardless of the war.
- In 1966, Waterloo, New York was labeled as the original birthplace of Memorial Day. This is because the civilians of Waterloo hosted this annual event to decorate the graves of lost soldiers before Memorial Day was even given its name.
- Every year on Memorial Day people practice a 60 second National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. local time.
- Much like Labor Day being labeled as the end of the summer, Memorial Day is labeled as the unofficial start to the summer.
- The first official Memorial Day was on May 30, 1868.
- Originally, Memorial Day was called Decoration Day.
- Back in the day, Memorial Day itself sparked a lot of protests against the act of war, even veterans were protesting.
- Poppies are typically bought, planted, or worn on Memorial Day as they are a symbol of remembrance to the fallen soldiers.
- Memorial Day was chosen to be celebrated in May because that is the month where flowers truly bloom and those flowers were to be placed at the graves of fallen soldiers.
- Memorial Day is a time to honor those soldiers who fought in any and all wars and battles.
Education is an extremely important aspect of this holiday. Without the proper education we can come off as hurtful or insensitive to the subject. For example, some people do not celebrate the holiday the way most do: food, parties, beach, etc. For most individuals this is not an enjoyable day, in fact it is a day where they are reminded of those that they may have lost. Also a lot of soldiers are reminded of the hardships that they have faced during their time of service. Therefore, saying “Happy Memorial Day” is not always an appropriate thing to say as it can be insensitive to someone who lost a loved one or faced hardships in service. Instead, you can simply say “thank you for your service” or if someone is willing to talk about who they lost you can ask them to tell you a little bit about who they were.
Not only is it important to understand the proper “terms” of Memorial Day, it is also important to provide further education to the younger generations that may not know too much about holiday. In today’s day and age, teens play video games more often than not and most of those video games are surrounded by fighting, battles, and war. What many of these teens do not understand is that this situation was not a video game for some people, it was real life. So we must educated children on the history of Memorial Day and make sure that they understand that war is a serious topic and it is not just something that you find on your video game screens.
There are many ways to celebrate Memorial Day and honor those who served. Here is a list of 10 ways that we can honor the lives that served and the lives that were lost.
- Participate in the 3 p.m. National Moment of Remembrance
- Visit a military cemetery
- Visit a war memorial
- Raise an American flag
- Send a card or a care package to soldiers
- Volunteer at a veterans organization
- Thank a veteran that you know or even a stranger
- Attend a Memorial Day parade if your town hosts one
- Purchase a poppy
- Support the families of those who lost someone
Memorial Day is typically labeled as the kick off to summer. As I stated earlier, we spend the day on the beach, eating food, and maybe even setting off a few fireworks. This may seem like a harmless celebration, however this act can be negatively impacting local veterans. What most people tend to forget is that these individuals were actively participating in war and once dismissed they were left to carry the residue. 20-30% of veterans experience PTSD and by lighting off fireworks on Memorial Day you can be triggering their effects of their condition. So while it is a habit to set off fireworks in celebration, let’s be mindful to the effects that we can be causing to those we are celebrating. As we showed before there are plenty of ways to honor those who served without setting off fireworks.
Not only is Memorial Day a day to remember the names of those who served but also the “nameless” ones as well. Many people do not realize how many unmarked graves there are for soldiers that lost their lives. So let us be mindful this Memorial Day of not only how we celebrate but who we celebrate; the ones we know and even the ones that nobody knows. Every life must be noticed. This blog is a tribute to the military and those who have served or are currently serving for our country. Thank you to all of our veterans for making the ultimate sacrifice. “Home of the free because of the brave.”