Memorial Day has been observed on the last Monday of May since Congress passed the National Holiday Act of 1971. This day has been set aside in our nation's calendar to mourn the loss of those who have given their lives while serving in the military for our country's freedom. While that statement is noble and good, many of us tend to blend, abuse, or completely forget to honor those fallen Americans and their families.
If you look at schools, civic organizations, and religious facilities around the end of May, you might notice many different events to commemorate Memorial Day. A closer look will reveal a blending of many patriotic themes, such as supporting our military, being grateful for our freedom, thanking veterans... ect. While there are exceptions, very few of these Memorial Day activities truly focus on mourning or serving a lost soldier's family. Some abuse the holiday to serve political agendas, using the opportunity to broadcast information about a current war or casualty rate. Many television stations have guests commenting or debating one viewpoint or another. Sadly, it seems the majority of Americans only know Memorial day as a source of much needed rest over a 3-day weekend, a time to watch a sporting event, or an opportunity to join friends and neighbors in a backyard barbecue.
While it's not a bad thing to thank Veterans for their service, there's already a holiday set aside to honor them. It is a good thing to keep abreast of the current military situations, catch up on sleep, and spend time with family and friends, but these things aren't exactly what the lawmakers had in mind when they instituted this holiday. Regardless of our political views, this is the day we are to remember and honor those brave souls that died while serving in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard.
Traditionally speaking, there are many things the government does to honor these men and women on Memorial Day. Typically, the country is invited to share in a moment of silence and our flags are flown at half staff 'till noon. Many people take it upon themselves to lay flags, candles, and flowers upon a soldier's grave. Some enthusiasts go as far as to clean up a cemetery or visit with the family of a fallen member of the armed forces. These types of activities are inspiring and remind us of the great sacrifice those individuals made.
With these great ideas in mind, and Memorial Day around the corner, how are YOU going to honor our country's fallen soldiers?