Many people think of Memorial Day in the United States as a three-day weekend filled with barbecues, camping, beach time and fun with family and friends. Although these tend to be the activities we fill our Memorial Day weekend with, the day represents so much more – something we all should pause and remember.
Not to be confused with Veterans Day, a day in which we celebrate all people who have served in the armed forces, Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for the men and women who lost their lives serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day and originated after the American Civil War in order to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died fighting in the Civil War. It was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868, and celebrated on May 30 with a simple act of placing roses on the graves of the fallen Union and Confederate soldiers. After World War I, the day was to honor those who died in any war, not just the Civil War.
I’m a U.S. Air Force veteran. And I’m proud to have served my country and realize how lucky I am to be here today. However, not everyone is this lucky. Many families have an empty chair where their loved one used to sit, a picture on the wall of their fallen hero or a medal in a case representing their loved one’s heroic action – and, sadly, just memories.
When I look at my family I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to enjoy them each and every day. We can continue to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice by cherishing the lives that we have and living every day to the fullest. While we enjoy our family and friends on this long weekend, let’s all make a conscious effort to pause and remember our fallen soldiers. We must celebrate their lives on this Memorial Day. Please join us in honoring those we lost by sharing your thoughts and memories using #honorthefallen.
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