Memorial Day honors those who have died in service to our nation. The celebration, then called Decoration Day, started even before the Civil War had ended, when Southern widows decorated the graves of soldier’s lost in battle.
On May 5, 1868, General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic officially proclaimed Memorial Day as an official observance. It was first observed on May 30th of that same year when flowers were placed on the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.
Traditional observances of Memorial Day have gone by the wayside in far too many communities because too many Americans aren’t even aware of the intent of Memorial Day.
To most people this holiday is the ‘start of summer’ providing time to take that first trip to the lake, or have a first Bar-B-Q.
Far too many cemeteries ignore the observance. But there is one hallowed ground where Memorial Day is fully observed.
Since the late 50’s on the Thursday prior to Memorial Day, soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 290,000 graves at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing.
So, on this day of remembrance we honor those who gave their full measure of devotion while serving our Nation, and we affirm our commitment to our active military, veterans and our wounded warriors and their families.
To all serving in our Armed Forces, at home or abroad, know that your sacrifices do not go unnoticed. We are grateful for your service and we are privileged to honor you also on this Memorial Day.