For many, Memorial day is about barbecues, beaches, and big sales. It's the unnofficial start of summer. But let's not forget what Memorial Day is really about.
Originally known as Decoration Day, it started to honor the 640,000 soldiers lost during the Civil War. Roughly 2 percent of the total population at the time. On May 5, 1868, General Logan, commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, issued General Orders No. 11, which set aside May 30, 1868 "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."
Memorial Day became an official federal holiday in 1971. It is a day where communities across the nation honor and remember all soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom by decorating their graves and holding memorial ceremonies.
In person, or from home, here are 5 ways you can honor all of our fallen soldiers and remember them for their ultimate sacrifice to our country.
Attending your community’s Memorial Day ceremony is one way to pay your respects and honor our fallen heroes. At my local ceremony in Coronado, representatives from all the armed forces and the local community turn out to honor our fallen warriors. This year, due to COVID-19, some events will have crowd limites or be virtual only.
Visit your local National cemetery and honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice by decorating their gravesite with flowers and U.S. flags. If you can’t attend, sponsor a thank-you bouquet or sign-up to volunteer next year.
Invite a veteran to go with you to Memorial Day Services or to visit a veterans cemetery. Invite them to share their military stories and record them.
Pause at 3:00pm local time for the National Moment of Remembrance. Stop for one minute to honor those who died in service protecting our country. Officially recognized since 2000.
Military records contain genealogical and historical information not found anywhere else. With many websites offering FREE access to military records this weekend, it’s a great time to learn more about your heroic ancestors and the sacrifices they made in the service of our country.
Research a fallen hero in your tree and share their story with your family.
Read my blog post “Finding Your Military Ancestors” for tips.
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