With Memorial Day just behind us, I realized most of us looked forward to the three-day weekend to enjoy with our friends and family. In the midst of hosting a BBQ get-together, planning a get-away, enjoying a shopping spree, and joining the festivals or parades. I noticed how easy it is to forget the real reason behind Memorial Day.
The keynote of Memorial Day has been forgotten 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.
Taking this opportunity as a reminder for us to observe this day for the fallen servicemen; I will like to share a bit of not only the reasoning but the history of Memorial Day. Beginning after the American Civil War, Memorial Day was held to honor the Union and Confederate soldiers who passed fighting for freedom. It eventually extended to remember and honor all Americans who have passed in the military service.
There are a few traditional observances that are carried out on Memorial Day weekend. On the day of, the U.S. flag is raised to the top to rest in a half-staff position until noon to remember the men and women who have given their lives to serve our country. It is then raised to a full-staff until the day’s finish to signify that their sacrifices and memory are not forgotten, but that we will continue to represent what our soldiers have fought for.
In the U.S. capitol, the National Memorial Day concert is broadcasted to pay respect. Not to forget the parades that are held all over the country, who are joined by marching bands, National Guards, servicemen, our brave veterans and even military vehicles from previous wars. One of the biggest traditions since 1911, is the auto race: Indianapolis 500, followed by the Coca-Cola 600 which started on 1961. Even a Memorial Tournament golf event is held yearly since its start in 1976. And if you ever wondered, it is also a very common tradition to host BBQ’s on Memorial Day as its often linked with the start of Summer.
To wrap up, many people also pay their respects by visiting cemeteries and memorials. Traditionally, an American flag is placed on each grave and the practice of decorating soldiers’ graves with flowers became an ancient custom in national holidays. With this, let’s all refresh our memories to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day and I hope that next time around you also enjoy Memorial Day weekend in remembrance of those who have served us.