It’s not the end of a three-day weekend. It’s not the unofficial beginning of summer. Solely on its own merits, Memorial Day matters. It has an important purpose. Ask any family who has been handed an American flag in the shape of a tri-cornered colonial hat. They never forget.
Maybe Memorial Day needs a modern day social media push. It is a movement believed to have begun on a community level following the American Civil War. A number of cities from Georgia, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and beyond, all lay claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. However, in 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson officially recognized Waterloo, New York as the birthplace of Memorial Day. It was 100 years after the city held its first ceremony honoring those who died in the Civil War.
Originally, it was called “Decoration Day.” The name is credited to Union Maj. General John A. Logan, who asked people to lay flowers at the graves of fallen soldiers as a tribute. Late May was selected, for it was a time when flowers would be in bloom all across the United States from South to North.
Sadly, 44 years after the U.S. Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday in 1971, it still seems to suffer from a bit of an identity crisis. Hopefully, that’s the explanation. Apathy would be much tougher to take.
It can be a real kick in the rear of camouflage pants to see how Memorial Day fights to be recognized. Meanwhile, Cinco de Mayo, which celebrates a Mexican military victory over France, grows in popularity every year across America.
The Difference Between Memorial Day and Veterans Day
By definition, a memorial is something established to remind people of a particular person or event. Memorial Day exists to commemorate each and every one who died in service of the United States Armed Forces. It is a richly-deserved tribute to fallen military heroes.
Since 1954, every November 11th has been designated as Veterans Day. (It began as “Armistice Day” as a celebration of the Allied Forces victory in World War I). Veterans Day is another richly-deserved federal holiday put in place to honor all American veterans from wars, past and present.
Memorial Day matters to the men and women of AWC, Inc.
Many of our team members have served in the U.S. Marines, or are military spouses. They feel the sacred aspect of the day of remembrance. They think of those they knew personally who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. On our website this holiday weekend, we will be sharing a couple of interesting stories which serve as powerful examples of the significance of Memorial Day.
AWC CEO Bryce Stirlen adds, “On behalf of everyone at AWC, from the bottom of our hearts we thank and honor those who have died in service to the United States Armed Forces. We thank their families as well for their service and sacrifice. We’d like to wish everyone across America a safe and happy holiday weekend. We’d like to ask something, too. Whether you are on a beach, on the road, or in the backyard enjoying a BBQ with friends and family, please honor the National Moment of Remembrance with your silence and gratitude at 3:00 pm local time. Please, keep the ‘memorial’ alive in Memorial Day.”
Think of it this way. Five weeks from now, The 4th of July Independence Day wouldn’t be so much of a celebration if it weren’t for the efforts and sacrifices of many brave Americans. They served this country with a sense of duty and honor, and died fighting to protect the freedoms we enjoy every day. The least we can all do is remember them.