Memorial Day- Celebrate and Honor

How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!
~Maya Angelou

I hope you’ve enjoyed your weekend so far. And I hope that each and every one of you pauses to reflect upon what this weekend really means. It’s not about hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill. It’s not about the beach and warmer weather and the beginning of summer. It’s about honoring those who have served our country and are no longer with us. It is also about honoring those who have in the past, and those who continue today, to put their lives on the line and are willing to give the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

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History (facts from usmemorialday.org)
Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day. Many cities claim to be the birthplace of it. It was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic. It was first celebrated on May 30, 1868 when flowers were placed on the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war).

Today
Traditional Memorial Day observances have increasingly fallen by the wayside. Many Americans today don’t even know the true meaning of the day, nor do they observe proper flag etiquette for the day. In fact, many believe that that the day is to honor all those who have died, not just veterans. To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of Remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps.”

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This is my first Memorial Day as a member of the Armed Forces. Granted, I’m just a Reservist. But I am the wife of an active duty Sailor. And that makes it very special. We both realize the sacrifices make… and that the ultimate sacrifice might one day be asked of us.

It hits even closer to home because last week I was counseled that, due to my family circumstances (and our future family), later this year/next year would be a good year to volunteer to go on my first IA… before I am recalled with no choice. I am to contact the person in charge of that when I finish my DINFOS course in October. Now, I’ll be technically volunteering (though my orders will say non-volunteer) so I will get my choice of billets to fill. I have no idea what will be open, but I know that most billets are, of course, for Afghanistan. We’ll see what is open when the time comes.

I understand the sacrifices that are asked of our men and women in uniform. And so do those who have loved ones in the military. My hope is that everyone takes a moment this weekend to pause and reflect on those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.

So from Seaman to Chief, Ensign to Admiral… I salute all those who have given their lives so that we may live in freedom.

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