Memorial Day–It’s Not Just Hot Dogs

Veteran
My father-in-law, James Walter Thomas, Sr.

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?

6 thoughts on “Memorial Day–It’s Not Just Hot Dogs

  1. Erika Nelson

    Thank you for this thoughtful post, Sarah. I’m remembering Kenneth “Nip” White, my mom’s uncle, who died in the Bataan Death March in the Philippines, and James White, my grandfather, who was a radar operator in a B-29 in Indochina and flew over “the hump” to drop bombs on Japan – and who came home with TB and PTSD. Also, my grandfather’s two cousins, Dean and Rush Willard, who flew in the Army Air Corps and died in the Atlantic.

  2. Teresa

    🇺🇸We owe them ALL a great debt for their Sacrifice!! Those who paid the Ultimate Price, as well as, others who are wounded, those who served in the past & those who
    currently serve! PROUD to say my Husband, Jerry, served in the USAF for several years & “we” have never
    regretted those years~As a matter of fact, we often miss them!! 👩🏻‍✈️👨🏼‍✈️

  3. This is probably the most confused holiday. My husband is a veteran, and people will link him to Memorial Day somehow, thanking him. I think they get it mixed up with Veteran’s Day. I have to refresh my mind each year, it seems. I like Decoration Day … that seems to clarify the purpose. I don’t think I know anyone personally who died in a war, but like you, I remember someone who served, my grandfather. He was shot in WWII and received a Purple Heart. He survived, but the injury weakened his heart and eventually contributed to his death. Still, he lived to his early 80s. I’m so thankful. ❤

    1. Yes, my husband clarified that while everyone I listed has passed away, none of them actually died in a war, which is the point of Memorial Day. It IS confusing. Still, it’s nice to thank soldiers for their service regardless of the day!

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