Memorial Day might be signified by barbecues and vacation days to a large portion of the populace but the reason for the holiday is extremely emotional and very bittersweet. It is the day in which we honor all of the fallen soldiers who served in the Armed Forces. Visiting soldier graves, war memorials and reflecting on those we lost is what the day signifies and what we should all remember as a nation. It IS bittersweet because we wish these individuals who laid down their lives to protect ours and make it better would not have had to suffer so greatly and make such a vital sacrifice. And yet, without their courage and what they lost along the way, we would not have freedom, rights and basic civil liberties that we tend to take for granted these days.
The holiday may be somber but it is also something to be joyous about. We celebrate the freedoms they provide us and all of the comforts and liberties that afforded. We celebrate each other, love, peace, harmony and our very way of life. We celebrate the fact that we can be proud of our heritage, religion, hobbies and trade because they gave us the right to have choices. We celebrate the courage, resilience and selflessness of those who fought and faced horrors to give us a reason to cheer in the first place. And THAT, in a nutshell, is why we observe Memorial Day.
Memorial Day was a direct response to the Civil War, which was one of the bloodiest battles in history. Such an appalling loss of life needed a balm for the people and so a day of dedication to the fallen Union and Confederate soldiers was born. Union General John A. Logan was the first one to officially bring this day into existence when he spoke at a Carbondale, Illinois march in Woodlawn Cemetery to honor the dead. He said that this day should be set aside “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.”
Happy Memorial Day and Thank You To All Of Our Fallen Comrades