Honored Memorial Day Weekend

The Fallen Hero 

Each Cross marks a gravesite for a life lost in war. Men and women alike are buried here in honor of their sacrifices.

Memorial Day respect for our soldiers of every war is what should be on the mind of every person alive.

This tradition dated back to the Civil War days, which ended in the Spring of 1865 with an unimaginable 620,000 soldiers. who lost their lives. It was a time when war claimed more casualties than any other conflict in U.S. history. The Civil War was when the holiday came to be, and celebrated for the Fallen Soldiers, partly because it was a time that required the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries. 

This holiday is an American holiday, which is observed the last weekend in May and officially on Monday’s. However, when researching what Memorial Day means to Americans, it’s shocking to read what some of the answers were when asked.

Some are not sure, but for them, it means time off from work, barbecues, friends over and getting drunk on beer or alcohol! Many others know it is for the celebration of the soldiers in the service, but not as many as I had thought realized it is for the celebration of the ones who gave the ultimate sacrifice in life for their country and our freedom…their lives. Hence, the Fallen Soldier. The soldier whose families will never hear the voice of a loved one again, soldiers whom babies have no mother or father to grow up with or a spouse whose wait for their return can only look forward to meeting a casket. These are the soldiers for which this day has been created.

Yes, every veteran should be thanked for their service, and so many are lost when returning home with no one to bother to show them we all care. However, those soldiers who cannot return to their lives as it was before the war and return home to only pass through it…to the Fallen Soldier We Salute YOU! This day belongs to YOU! And I salute the families you left behind.

Memorial Day became an official federal holiday in 1971, but it was known as Decoration Day, to honor the soldiers, men, and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. The holiday name was changed with many that speculated it was due to the Vietnam veterans who could not return home, and there was  no grave for them to decorate. For many, this holiday is celebrated by visiting the cemeteries or memorials of the Fallen Soldiers and placing fresh flowers there, out of respect and or love. While millions participate in parades all over the country, many of which incorporate military personnel and members of veterans’ organizations, but I believe it is also possible that the parades that try to outdo the others forget why they are there in the first place. It’s again, not for partying, but yes to celebrate the very lives this holiday marks. Some merchants along the routes are selling balloons and food of all sorts. I hope they are donating funds to groups that help and support the veterans still trying to get through life after devastating injuries. Or help those families left behind without a spouse or parent to share the daily responsibilities with, on any level. Many of the American businesses do precisely that, and some even pass out a red poppy to wear in remembrance of those fallen in war.  

Image of red poppies in remembrance of those who fought and died for all of us.

An interesting fact I learned while researching this holiday was that every year on Memorial Day, a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3 PM, local times. However, it is not entirely clear where it occurred until 1966 when the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day. This area was chosen because it already had a community-wide annual celebration where businesses closed and the residents decorated the graves with flags and flowers. May 5, 1866, was its first day

Memorial Day continued to be celebrated on May 30 for decades, until 1968 when Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act meaning that this holiday was established to be the last Monday in May so that a three day weekend was in place for federal employees. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.

For whatever else you do with this holiday, please remember why it is called Memorial Day and that your freedoms in today’s world is because of those that fought for them.


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Until We Meet Again!,


Chris Ambrose, Author 

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