On May 31st, 2021, if not more frequently, let’s make a point to remember. Innocently, Memorial Day has turned into a day of big blowout sales and pool-side celebrations, but for anyone who has lost someone in the service, they are pained with remembering. This holiday signifies so much more than a long weekend. Let’s come together and remember why we honor this day in the first place.
Memorial Day was once known as “Decoration Day” and celebrated on May 30th every year. We began observing Decoration Day promptly after the Civil War. It is unclear the true origin of this day, but impact was gained by way of a May Day celebration organized by black residents in Charleston, SC to properly honor the 257 fallen Union soldiers. It wasn’t until 1967 that the holiday was named Memorial Day and celebrated on the last Monday in May, rather than May 30th. The holiday earned its status as an official Federal holiday in 1971.
Traditionally on this day, American citizens would visit graves of fallen soldiers to pay their respects. An American flag or floral arrangement may be placed upon their graves to show respect. The American flag is flown at half-staff to honor the fallen soldiers until noon. The flag is then raised to full-staff to honor those currently serving. A moment of national remembrance occurs every Memorial Day at 3 PM local time.
While this holiday marks the unofficial start of Summer and gives us a three-day weekend, let’s not allow our focus to be completely clouded by free-spirited fun that takes away significance from this day.