Memorial Day has a special meaning for me. My father was a WWII Veteran who served on a Destroyer Escort in the Pacific Fleet. The meaning of Memorial Day is not that it is a day off from work but rather to remember those who fought and sacrificed everything for the freedom that all Americans have today. Without people to stand in the gap when others would attack us our lives would not be what they are today.
On May 5, 1868, a group of Civil War veterans declared they were going to honor their fellow soldiers who had died by decorating their graves. The day referred to as Decoration Day would later become Memorial Day as we know it today. The original celebration was determined to be on May 30th and a celebration was held at Arlington National Cemetery at this time.
Many cities in the US have laid claim to having held events earlier than this and that this holiday was born there. However, in 1966 Waterloo, New York was declared the birthplace for Memorial Day by the US Congress and President Lyndon Johnson.
After WWI, Memorial Day was expanded from honoring the war dead of the civil war to all American War Dead. It was not until 1971 that Memorial Day was declared a National Holiday. Prior to this it was an unofficial day of celebration which was declared in individual regions of the US.
Honoring our war dead was originally done primarily by presenting flowers and placing Flags at the graves of war dead. Today we have parades and have a formal day off to honor our fallen.
As a show of respect for soldiers lost a time was set aside to have a moment of silence. To remember those who gave all, it is recommended that at 3:00 PM local time people stop what they are doing and observe a moment of reflection.
Today I ask everyone to honor this day as a day of remembrance for all those who sacrificed for you. Without their action you may not have your freedom. All you have is a gift from God that by His grace others have fought and died to protect for you.
So today remember… Freedom has been given by God and defended by those who serve in the military.
Remember today… what you have is because of those who came before you.