Monday, May 28, 2012

The Meaning Behind Memorial Day

Memorial Day is more than just a holiday to celebrate a day off from work, to gather with friends and family to enjoy a great picnic or bar-b-que, watch a parade or to raise a flag in memory of those who served in the war. I found some amazing facts regarding this historical day and wanted to share it with you.

The custom of honoring ancestors by cleaning cemeteries and decorating graves is an ancient and worldwide tradition, but the specific origin of Memorial Day, or Decoration Day as it was first known, are unclear.

In early rural America, this duty was usually performed in late summer and was an occasion for family reunions and picnics. After the Civil War, America's need for a secular, patriotic ceremony to honor its military dead became prominent, as monuments to fallen soldiers were erected and dedicated, and ceremonies centering on the decoration of soldiers' graves were held in towns and cities throughout the nation.

No less than 25 places have been named in connection with the origin of Memorial Day, and for many years, states observed the holiday on different dates. By federal law, however, Memorial Day is now celebrated on the last Monday in May.

Since World War I, poppies have been a symbol of remembrance on Memorial Day, honoring those who died in service to their countries. Red poppies are also a symbol of consolation.

The idea started in 1918 when American Moina Michael read the poem “In Flanders Fields,” written by Canadian John McCrae in 1915 during World War I. She began wearing and selling poppies to support veterans. Today, donations to veterans’ groups are often marked with a token paper red poppy.

Traditional observances at Memorial Day have diminished over the years. This day is for honoring those who have fallen in service (not all who have died). In honor, we raise the flag.

Let us not forget those who have died today as a way of remembering what the true price of freedom is. It's found in the cemetery's of those who have past away. It is in the lost abandoned fields of the grounds in which they have fallen, it's in the hospitals and hospice facilities where many are still recovering from the war, and in the hearts of those that still live and breath that came home because of something someone did to ensure that they would return home; most of all let us not forget those Missing In Action that have never returned home and have been denied their most basic right to freedom. As you can see, freedom does have its cost and it's worth remembering not just today but every single day.

As a honor to service men and women all over the world, whenever you see them, stop and say a simple thank you. It truly does mean so much to them. They are a true heroes and forever will be.

Thank you for all of you that have served this great country of ours for the freedom we still enjoy!

1 comment:

chili pepper said...

We were talking the other day about how many people have no idea what the holiday is about. My mother in law has grown peonies for 50 years to take to the cemetery on Memorial Day. This year because of the unusually warm spring they bloomed and were down weeks ahead of time. It was sad to think there were no peonies.

Loved your cupcake talk. ☺