Memorial Day is set aside for remembering those who have died in the service of our nation. Originally, it was proclaimed in honor of the Civil War dead by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. The order became official on May 5, 1868, and was first observed on May 30 of that year (next year is the 150th anniversary!).
Memorial Day has also been called Decoration Day because it was the tradition to decorate the graves of those who died in the war. The day was moved to the last Monday in May in 1971 to ensure a three-day weekend (cause that’s what really matters–right?).
In 2000 a resolution was passed to try and help remind Americans of the true meaning of the day. Signed by Pres. Bill Clinton it include a bullet “Encouraging individual department and agency personnel, and Americans everywhere, to pause for one minute at 3:00 p.m. (local time) on Memorial Day, to remember and reflect on the sacrifices made by so many to provide freedom for all.”
So I encourage you at 3 p.m. this afternoon, to stop whatever you’re doing and say a prayer of thanks for those who have died to protect us and for those who are, even now, willing to do so.
I’ll be thanking God for some of the veterans I’ll be remembering:
- James Walter Thomas Sr., my father-in-law, who served in WWII.
- Bill Johnson, a neighbor, who was a WWII fighter pilot.
- Arthur “Judd” Loudin, my great-uncle, who lost part of his lung in the war.
- Gail Phillips, a cousin, who had WWII shrapnel taken out of his leg in my memory.
All of them are gone, but certainly not forgotten. Who are you remembering this Memorial Day?