A brief history and comments regarding Memorial Day
MCKNOTES ON MEMORIAL DAY
Memorial Day is a time to reflect on those who have passed on. It was originally called Decoration Day and was aimed at honoring those who died in the Civil War. In the early 20th century it became a day to recognize all of the men and women who have died in service to their country. Now it is a day to decorate the graves of all people, though some cemeteries have special days set aside to honor the people buried there.
Memorial Day has also become the beginning of summer vacation, which traditionally ends with Labor Day. Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veteran’s Day, which is time to recognize all who have served in their country’s defense, living and dead. It is good that we honor those who have given their lives in service to their country. It is also a good thing to recognize all who have served their country. We have learned, especially since the Vietnam “conflict,” that it is important to honor the brave men and women involved in our nation’s defense even if we oppose the choice the government makes that involves us in such conflicts.
Those who give their lives in service certainly deserve to be honored, but those who survive the ravages of participation in war have made notable sacrifices. Some people who serve in the military see no direct action, which is to say that they are not directly involved in combat. That, however, doesn’t negate the fact that they have made sacrifices to insure our country’s defense.
It is a solemn time for the families of those we have lost. As individuals, we may not have any direct involvement with anyone who has given their life for their country, but we can certainly join in the celebration of their life and honor their sacrifice. It is this honor that offers some solace to those who are left behind to grieve the loss of their loved ones.