By R. Stinson
This weekend America will celebrate Memorial Day on Monday, May 30th. This date is significant because the original holiday, Known as Decoration Day, was traditionally observed on the 30th of May. Eventually, the day became an official Federal holiday and in 1971 the actaul day of observance was changed to the last Monday in may.
Many communities lay claim to having observed the first Decoration day, and there are just as many stories to explain how the holiday came to be celebrated. There is evidence that supports the belief that organized womans groups in both the north and the south began the practice of decorating the graves of fallen Civil War soldiers. However it first came to be, by 1868 it was officially proclaimed and flowers were placed on the graves of Civil War soldiers in Arlington National Cemetary.
It is likely that this observance was a natural progression that grew out of the human desire to honor and remember the dead and that it truly started in many different places. We fulfill that basic human need today by observing Memorial Day.
Much will be said this weekend about the true meaning of the holiday. About how sad it is that young people do not really know what the holiday is for. How people think it is just a day to go to the beach, or have a cookout, or go to the races. While I agree that we should do a better job of educating ourselves and our children about the true value of honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in order to defend our way of life. I believe those same men and women who have paid that ultimate price, would want us to spend the day not in grief for their loss, but in celebration of their life. And in gratefulness for their selfless gift.
And so for all of the Veterans who have given so much of yourselves in service to our America and came home to tell about it. Thank you. My family and I appreciate your service. For all of your brothers and sisters, Americas sons and daughters, who did not come home to us, I will spend a few moments thinking about the family you left behind. I will send out my hopes and prayers that they will find some measure of comfort on this sacred day. And I will hope that they know that your life was not in vain, that their sacrifice is not taken for granted.