Linda Soller | May 25, 2015
On May 5, 1868 General John Logan, Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic declared Decoration Day. It was to be a day to honor and remember those who died in service during the Civil War. The day selected was May 30th. The holiday initially had mixed acceptance, but gradually it was embraced and became known as Memorial Day. In 1971 the National Holiday Act stipulated Memorial Day would be celebrated on the last Monday of May each year. Now that you have a very brief history of this treasured holiday I will ask you, how do you celebrate Memorial Day?
Like so many things the initial intention can become lost with the passing of time. When I was younger I thought Memorial Day was a celebration of the school year ending, the summer coming, and best of all, the swimming pool opening. The water was always so cold for swimming, but it was the thought that counted. Memorial Day kicked off the summer. I’m pretty sure our teachers saw a marked drop in our attention at school after our long holiday weekend. Naturally as I learned more about the holiday I felt a bit different. It became a great long weekend to remember our fallen soldiers from all wars, and the opening of the swimming pool. Hey, I was taking baby steps in the right direction!
I began to appreciate the flags waving, the flowers left at the cemeteries, and I paused to reflect. Even so, the holiday continues to evolve for me to include a time to remember those who have passed, war related or not. The opening of the pool has dropped off my list. My mother and my grandmother always made a point of putting flowers at the grave stones in the family plot. A tradition my mother continues to this day. It is a way of saying you are remembered.
When it comes right down to it holidays are really telling us, “Don’t forget.” The event or people we are to remember may vary, but the “don’t forget message” rings true. Our faith tells us to remember as well. Remember the commandments, remember Jesus died on the cross for us, and remember we are to do God’s work here on earth. This weekend, no matter how you celebrate, no matter what you celebrate, don’t forget those who went before you who left you a world where both are possible.
Have a wonderful Memorial Day and have a great week! :o) Linda