The True Meaning Of Decoration Day

The True Meaning Of Decoration Day

With Memorial Day just around the corner, unofficially marking the beginning of summer, kicking off swimming pool openings, and a day for barbecues, picnics, and time with family and friends, keep in sight the significance of the day.

In those early years, businesses closed and the whole community joined in the celebration and commemoration of fallen soldiers.

As with monuments and memorials, we should always remember the men and women who are putting themselves in harm's way to protect our freedom and never forget those who have paid the ultimate price.

As we approach Memorial Day on Monday, May 29, American Legion Post, Auxiliary Units and Veteran of Foreign Wars volunteers will be out with their trademark memorial red poppies asking you to wear and/or display them proudly to honor the sacrifice of so many for our country through this month.

Memorial Day started after the Civil War to honor men and women who died in military service.

While some of the history is sketchy, we do know that the first actual proclamation was issued by Gen. John A. Logan, national commander of the U.S. Army, declaring May 30, 1868, as the day when flowers were to be placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

The observance continued to be popularly known by either name until after World War II, when Memorial Day became more common.

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The closest many of us come to confronting the human cost of war is while visiting places such as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, the Gettysburg battlefield in Pennsylvania, or the American cemetery at Normandy, France. Fast-forward about 100 years, and the government officially declared the last Monday in May a federal holiday on which those who died in all of America's wars should be remembered. Of course, putting aside one day does not do justice to all those who have bravely fought throughout history.

St. Augustine has traditionally celebrated Memorial Day with an observance at the St. Augustine National Cemetery.

Since the Civil War, more than 640,000 Americans have given their lives defending freedom around the world.

Memorial Day, which is observed on the last Monday in May, honors men and women who died while serving in the United States military. It should also be a time of reflection on why we get to enjoy those activities. But for some, Memorial Day holds a special significance. On May 5, 1866, the town's residents organized a community-wide event to pay respects to perished soldiers by decorating their graves with flowers and flags.

The "National Moment of Remembrance Act" was signed on December 20, 2000, by President Bill Clinton, designating 3 p.m.as a moment set aside to "pause and consider the true meaning of this holiday". Remembering is the least we can do. A young boy and a young girl are in a graveyard with tombs of soldiers killed in the American Civil War.

Memorial Day is different than Veteran's Day.

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