This coming Monday is Memorial Day. It was originally called Decoration Day, the name my mom always used. It is a federal holiday that traditionally marks the beginning of summer.
Memorial Day began as a way to remember and honor both Union and Confederate soldiers who were killed in battle during the Civil War. In 1868 the 30th of May was officially proclaimed as the day to decorate those graves. After WWI Memorial Day was extended to honor Americans who died in all wars. Today most Americans use this holiday as a time to decorate grave sites, whether the deceased served in the military or not.
Memorial Day was declared a U.S. federal holiday in 1971 and is now observed the last Monday in May. In December 2000 the National Moment of Remembrance resolution was passed, which asks all Americans to pause at 3:00 p.m. local time and reflect on the meaning of Memorial Day.
Remember to observe proper flag etiquette on Memorial Day: The American flag should be flown at half-staff until noon and then raised to full-staff. During a parade there may be several participants with a flag and it is appropriate to salute only the first flag as it passes by. As the first flag passes everyone should show respect by standing at attention with their right hand over their heart. Those in uniform should give their appropriate formal salute.
Most area towns have a Memorial Day ceremony at local cemetery, conducted by the local American Legion and/or VFW, who also mark all veterans’ graves with an American flag. A big Thank You to all those volunteers.
Willshire Home Furnishings will have a display of over 150 military uniforms, photos, flags, maps, and letters of local servicemen all weekend and Memorial Day. It is a wonderful display and well worth a visit. My dad’s photo and Army jacket will be on display there. Willshire will also have its Memorial Day Parade on Monday.