With Memorial Day approaching I want to take a moment and pause to think about the true meaning behind this holiday. Many veterans will post pictures of themselves in uniform. And I am guilty of this too. But Memorial Day is a day to remember our fallen military who gave their lives defending our freedom. But when was this day established and who thought it was important to honor our lost loved ones?
So I looked up the history of Memorial Day….
I found this declaration Logan’s General Order No 11 written by General John Logan in 1868 describing the original Memorial Day, called Decoration Day.
“The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.”
The general order even provides guidelines for what someone should do on Decoration Day.
“Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from his honor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation’s gratitude, the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.”
Pause to Reflect
So on this Memorial Day while we enjoy the company of our friends and family pause for a moment to remember those who have provided us this freedom to grill at a park or relax at a beach.
Many of these ways can be a great learning opportunity to share the Memorial Day history with your child. As a veteran family with generations of family members who have served in the military; I want my child to grow up with an appreciation for her great country and for the service members who have given their lives to defend that freedom.
I’ve included 10 ways to honor the men and women who gave their lives defending this great country:
- Commit your time by volunteering to help a soldier’s widow or child. If you don’t know anyone volunteer at a veterans office, hospital, or USO.
- Watch the National Memorial Day Concert on Sunday, May 28, 2017 at 8/7c on PBS. For more on the ceremony visit PBS.
- Visit monuments dedicated to our fallen military. If allowed place flowers at these monuments.
- Visit a local cemetery and place a flag or flowers on the graves of the service member. Depending on when it occurs you may witness military personal in uniform performing this act of service. I have veteran friends who volunteer their time to place flags on the graves.
- Attend a Memorial Day parade. Better yet march in the parade.
- Fly the American flag at half-staff until noon to honor those who died in wars. After noon fly full-stuff to praise those who continue to fight for our nation’s freedom.
- Participate in a National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. for one minute of silence to remember and reflect on the sacrifices made by many.
- Read the original Decoration Day declaration Logan’s General Order No 11 written by General John Logan in 1868.
- Visit a military museum, historic site, or memorial.
- Pray for God’s blessing (If you are spiritual) and protection for those soldiers, sailors, and marines who are still on duty, fighting for our freedom to return home safely.
These are just a few possibilities. There are so many more options such as volunteering and donating.
I hope you enjoy your Memorial Day and weekend!
While amongst your friends and family please remember those who paid the price for your freedom and those who are currently defending that freedom.
Please comment what do you plan to do this Memorial Day to honor our fallen Heroes?