With Memorial Day just around the corner, we look forward to annual town parades, that first cookout of the season, and gathering together with family and friends. The following information gives a brief history of the holiday, courtesy of Google.
Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May (May 30 in 2011). Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. soldiers who died while in the military service. It was first enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War, but has since expanded; it was extended after World War I to honor Americans who have died in all wars.
Memorial Day also often marks the start of the summer vacation season, and Labor Day its end.
Begun as a ritual of remembrance and reconciliation after the Civil War, by the early 20th century, Memorial Day was an occasion for more general expressions of memory, as ordinary people visited the graves of their deceased relatives, whether they had served in the military or not. It also became a long weekend increasingly devoted to shopping, family get-togethers, fireworks, trips to the beach, and national media events such as the Indianapolis 500 auto race, held since 1911 on Memorial Day.
So while we enjoy that extra day off, attending the parades and cookouts, we should also time to take a few moments of thanks for all those who have given their lives for their country, as well as all the men and women who are serving in the military in foreign countries, away from families and loved ones, to assure our safety.