The True Meaning Behind Memorial Day
While most enjoy the day off filled with barbecues, few understand the true meaning behind Memorial Day. Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America. As Americans, it is essential for us to remember the roots of this holiday to truly appreciate the celebrations.
As an American holiday observed on the last Monday of May, Memorial Day originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. This originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. But during World War I the United States found itself in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars.
So enjoy your day of from school and work, and try one of the following to acknowledge the day!
1. Attend a Memorial Day Service
Memorial Day services are a great way to remember the day. These events take little time out of your day and bring you and the community together. Most include laying of the wreaths, prayer, and guest speakers! Check with your local Veterans Association to find a local ceremony in your area!
2. Wear Red Poppies
The wearing of poppies in honor of America's fallen soldiers is traditionally done on Memorial Day. The practice of wearing of poppies takes its origin from the poem In Flanders Fields, written in 1915 by John McCrae. The poem reads:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row,That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.