Trivia question of the day: Why do we celebrate Memorial Day???
To many people it is simply a Federal holiday that causes business to shut down, and also it means the unofficial beginning of summer. In coastal communities everywhere it is when the official high season begins. People everywhere rejoice in the name of Memorial Day because they get a 3 day weekend, and while it is a fantastic reason travel, and celebrate life, you should never forget why we are celebrating. Sadly, many people, especially young children, have no idea what the significance of the day is.
In 1996, a humanitarian organization based in Washington, D.C., known as ‘No Greater Love’ conducted a survey on children and asked them why do they think there is a holiday on Memorial Day. It was agonizing to hear their remarks that were all associated with barbecues and extended weekend parties and celebration, while they hadn’t the vaguest idea about the sacrifices of the soldiers in whose honor it is celebrated. One of the children was even quoted as saying that this was the day when swimming pools open! Source
But do you know what the real significance is of Memorial Day?
It is a day designated for the whole country to remember and honor all the people who have died serving in the country’s armed forces.
Memorial Day was borne from the Civil War, and people’s strong desire to honor the dead. So on May 5, 1868 General John Logan, the national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, officially proclaimed the last day of May be designated for honoring our fallen soldiers. He called it our, “Decoration Day” and chose the end of May because it was not the anniversary to any other battle. And the first state to truly honor the holiday was New York in 1873, while the southern states refused, and continued honoring their fallen on separate days until after WWI. After WWI, there was more need to honor our fallen soldiers so the “Decoration Day” became a day to honor soldiers that had fallen in all wars, not just the Civil War. Since then, the holiday is now recognized by almost every state and is called Memorial Day.
So, while you are super excited to have off this coming Monday, please remember why you have the day off, and take a minute to honor all service members who have died for our country. We owe everything to them! At 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans there is a National Moment of Remembrance, “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.
United Military Travel is incredibly proud to serve those who serve, and would like to send out a huge cheers to all Military service members out there!