“ALL GAVE SOME…SOME GAVE ALL.”
My dad served in Korea during that conflict in the early 1950’s. I remember looking at photos he had from his time there. He came to one that showed a picture of a fellow soldier and my dad said, “One day he didn’t come back (he had been killed). In that moment It really hit me that many have sacrificed so much for us and that it is very easy to forget and take it for granted. Countless men and women have served our nation so we can celebrate, complain, demonstrate, have parades, speak our minds, go to the lake, play golf and vote for who we choose. Perhaps this explanation I found will help you remember why you have today off.
Memorial Day began as a day of remembrance for those who lost their lives fighting for the Union during the Civil War. Originally known as Decoration Day, it was a time for people to visit cemeteries and place flowers or other memorials on the graves of the war dead—a day to remember ancestors, family members, and loved ones who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Gradually, the practice expanded, and following World War I, the day was officially named Memorial Day, made a National Holiday, and was dedicated to honoring all Americans who perished in service to our country–particularly in combat.
Over time, however, the meaning of the day has been forgotten by many people, and instead of being a day to honor and say thank you, it became just another three-day weekend. As the story goes, one weekend in May in the late 1990s, groups of schoolchildren touring Washington DC were asked if they knew what Memorial Day was for. Their answer? “That’s the day the swimming pools open!” Thus, the idea for a National Moment of Remembrance was born.
The National Moment of Remembrance Act was passed in 2000 as a way of helping honor and remember our fallen heroes. For one minute at 3 pm on each Memorial Day, we’re asked to stop everything to pay our respects to the men and women who died in service for our country, especially those who died in battle. That time of day was chosen because it is likely a time when Americans are most enjoying the freedom made possible by those brave men and women.
At 3 pm, local time, all across the country on May 31, people will wave flags, visit cemeteries, observe a moment of silence, or stop to tell their children what the meaning of the day is. Trains will blow their whistles. Hundreds of thousands of Major League Baseball fans will pause for a moment of silence. Cars will drive with their headlights on. “Taps” will play throughout the nation.
Memorial Day weekend is typically regarded as the unofficial beginning of summer. As you go about your weekend, consider taking a moment to honor all of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country.
What will you be doing at 3PM today?
Live on purpose,