While Memorial Day holds meaning and honor for those who have died serving in the military, sometimes the enthusiasm can take a back seat to family gatherings and backyard barbecues. It can become a backdrop to having a Monday off work.
But perhaps, the meaning of Memorial Day can be enhanced by the word “Memorial.” We need to remember how blessed we are in this country to have fellow citizens who are willing to lay down their lives on the line for us. It is no small gesture.
To fully appreciate the significance of this holiday, more needs to be known about it. Did you know, for instance, that Memorial Day used to be known as “Decoration Day?” It originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. But during World War I the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars.
For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30. But in 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees; the change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.
To make Memorial Day memorable, we should all remember that there was a time in this country that women and men of color were not allowed to join the military.
We should also remember to show our personal appreciation to a veteran every chance we get. We should consider donating and volunteering our time, money and effort to programs that help support a good quality of life for them.
It does not take a lot to remember the significance of this day that allows us to gather with loved ones without fear of being attacked or taken away by terrorists. Take a moment out on Monday to thank a veteran you know or just think about how different life would be if there were no strong U.S. military presence.
Better yet, march on over to the Memorial Day Service on the South Lawn of Inglewood City Hall on Monday, May 25 at 11am and join in honoring local military heroes.
Have a memorable Memorial Day.