This is a weekend full of family gatherings…cook outs…days at the beach…and remembering.
Memorial Day (once called Decoration Day) was born out of the Civil War. It was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by Gen. John Logan. His original order was this: “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date was chosen because it was not the anniversary of any particular battle.
Since 1971, it has been celebrated on the last Monday in May.
In the year 2000, it was declared that at 3 p.m. local time, citizens are “to voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps’.
It has also become a day for families to visit all of their loved ones’ graves and remember those they’ve lost. But truly, it is a day for us to remember and be thankful to all those who have given the ultimate sacrifice so that we may continue to enjoy our freedoms in this country.
Today, I remember my mom’s cousin, Paul J.”Paulie” Hess, Jr., who served as a Green Beret in Viet Nam and was killed in action at such a young age. He was killed on November 11, 1966 while his helicopter was landing in order to rescue a fellow soldier. He was shot in an ambush. I still remember his picture being on my grandma’s dresser. He’s a hero in our family and a hero to the nation.
So, enjoy the day with family and friends. Hopefully, the weather cooperates. Just remember the reason for the day and say a little prayer for the families of those left behind and, if you’re thinking of it at 3 p.m. – say a word of thanks for those who gave it all.