Understanding the Message of Memorial Day

May 16, 2016

For most, Memorial Day marks the first long weekend of summer, kicking off the season with a few days of rest and relaxation. But the origins of Memorial Day go far deeper: back to the end of the Civil War. This day was originally named Decoration Day, when Americans would honor those who died during the Civil War by decorating their graves with flowers.

Although many across the nation used the day to honor those in combat who paid the ultimate price for serving their country, Memorial Day wasn’t recognized as a National Holiday until after World War I. And although the first Memorial Day ceremony took place in Waterloo, N.Y., on May 5,1866, to pay tribute those who died in the Civil War, today the holiday is recognized with ceremonies and events across the country to both celebrate and mourn those who have fought in all wars in which America has sent its sons and daughters to defend the cause of freedom around the world.

Memorial Day always falls on the last Monday in May; and this year that’s Monday, May 30. On that day, as you enjoy a long weekend, please take the time to give thanks and pay your respects to the many brave Veterans who fought so valiantly for our freedom. And for those of you willing to go the extra mile, we hope you’ll consider becoming more deeply involved in commemorating Memorial Day. We owe so much to so many Veterans for their service and patriotism. Let’s make this a long weekend to give back, and to give thanks, to those who have served, and to those who continue to serve this nation.