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Discover the power of remembrance on Memorial Day: A time to honor the courageous souls who gave everything for our nation

Discover the power of remembrance on Memorial Day: A time to honor the courageous souls who gave everything for our nation

Commemorating the bravery and sacrifice of the men and women who have lost their lives in U.S. military service, Memorial Day is important in our nation’s history. It is crucial to distinguish this solemn occasion from Veterans Day, which pays tribute to the service of U.S. military veterans, and Armed Forces Day, which honors those currently serving.

Originating in 1868, just a few years after the conclusion of the Civil War, Memorial Day, initially known as Decoration Day, emerged as a heartfelt initiative by Union veterans. They dedicated this holiday to adorning the graves of fallen soldiers with beautiful flowers. Since then, this momentous day has been formally observed at the renowned Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

Congress passed the National Moment of Remembrance Act in 2000, recognizing the importance of remembrance. This act encourages Americans to silence at 3 p.m. local time to honor the memory of those who have given their lives in service.

During an 1868 Decoration Day address at Arlington, then-Congressman James Garfield expressed his deep respect by saying, “I am oppressed with a sense of the impropriety of uttering words on this occasion… If silence is ever golden, it must be here beside the graves of fifteen thousand men, whose lives were more significant than speech and whose death was a poem, the music of which can never be sung.” Garfield’s words continue to resonate and encapsulate the true essence of Memorial Day.

Additional Memorial Day Facts:

    1. Memorial Day was initially known as Decoration Day.
    2. Initially honoring soldiers who perished in the Civil War, the holiday now encompasses all U.S. veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
    3. According to the U.S. Flag Code, the American flag should be raised quickly to the entire staff at sunrise on Memorial Day, lowered to half-staff until noon, and finally returned to the team’s top.
    4. Many veterans, along with friends and family of veterans, undertake a pilgrimage to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., during Memorial Day weekend.
    5. In 1971, Memorial Day became an official federal holiday observed on the last Monday in May.
    6. Poppies have gained symbolic significance for Memorial Day due to their mention in the 1915 poem “In Flanders Fields” by Canadian soldier John McCrae.
    7. An official moment of remembrance occurs at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day, during which Amtrak conductors sound one long whistle in honor of the fallen.
    8. New York was the first state to establish Memorial Day as an official holiday.
    9. Some Southern states commemorate Confederate Memorial Day or Confederate Heroes Day in late April, paying tribute to the Confederate soldiers who lost their lives during the Civil War.
    10. The first Indianapolis 500 race took place on Memorial Day in 1911.
    11. The Lincoln Memorial was dedicated by then-Chief Justice William Taft on Memorial Day in 1922.

    Remember, Memorial Day serves as a solemn opportunity to honor the courageous individuals who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.