Stop and take a moment...
5/4/2012 11:43 AM
Memorial Day is the time to remember our patriotic heroes who sacrificed their lives to help all of us live in freedom. This day is observed with families and friends visiting cemeteries and memorials to pay homage to their loved ones.
Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, 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. This date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country, no matter in which state you lived. (Remember, Alaska wasn't a state at the time.)
Memorial Day was first celebrated on May 30, 1868. It was observed by placing flowers on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers during the first national celebration. James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, after which around 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers who were buried there. It now honors any service person who served in any war the United States has been involved.
In 2000, Congress established a National Moment of Remembrance, which asks Americans to pause for one minute at 3 p.m. in an act of national unity. The time was chosen because 3 p.m. "is the time when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday.” And don’t forget to display your American flag - the United States Flag Code stipulates that as the symbol of a living country, the flag is considered in itself a living thing and should be properly displayed and cared for. On Memorial Day, the flag should be hung at half-staff until noon, when it should be raised to the top of the staff.
Stop and take a moment, not just on Memorial Day, to honor the men and women who serve in our military and those who gave their lives for this great nation.