Memorial Day marks the beginning of the summer for many American families. A lot of folks head to the beach to watch fireworks and be with family. Other people have cookouts, parties, and other kinds of celebrations. Advertisements during the month of May are polluted with “Memorial Day Sales!"
Memorial Day is a very important day and I believe that many Americans have forgotten what it is about. It is not a happy day; instead, it is a day of remembrance of men awomen, family, and friends that have fallen while serving our country's armed forces. It is a holiday observed every year in the United States on the last Monday of May.
Before it was named “Memorial Day," the holiday originated as “Decoration Day." Soldiers' graves have been decorated in the United States since before the American Civil War, however the national holiday originated in different places at different times. After the civil war, the first well-known and widely publicized Memorial Day-type observance was on May 1st, 1865 in Charleston, South Carolina. Black residents of Charleston were joined by missionaries and teachers to help organize a ceremony that honored and remembered the Union soldiers who died while being held at the Hampton Park Race Course as prisoners of war. Nearly 10,000 people came together on May 1st to commemorate the fallen by laying flowers on their burial field. This is widely believed to be the first “Decoration Day." However, President Johnson officially proclaimed Waterloo, New York as the birthplace of Memorial Day on May 26th 1966. Since then there has continued to be speculation of the true time and place of origination.
It is my hope that this year and in the years to come we take the time to remember, honor, and respect the brave soldiers who died while serving our country. It is important that we do not forget about the true meaning of Memorial Day. We are only the home of the free because of the brave.
Thank you so much to all of America's armed forces for serving our country and protecting our freedom.