Every last Monday of the month of May, the entire country is one in celebrating Memorial Day. On this day, we are honoring the brave men and women who died fighting for our country. It's a day to honor the people who had fought valiantly in all of America's wars and in the service of his countrymen.
Memorial Day, originally called as Decoration Day, was first proclaimed by General John A. Logan in May 1868 to commemorate the sacrifices of the soldiers fighting for our country during the Civil War. Following the proclamation, people decorated graves of more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers and has become a tradition for people who had lost a loved one in the Armed Forces. Many people still flock National Cemeteries and Memorials to give thanks and to remember the courage and the sacrifice they had given to all of us.
Moina Belle Michael was an American professor and humanitarian who conceived the idea of wearing red poppies on Memorial Day in honor of those who died serving the country during the war. She was the first one to wear red poppies and sold the flowers to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Moina Michael in 1915 wrote this poem in remembrance of Memorial Day:
"We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies."
More than two dozen cities and town claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. But in May 1966, President Lyndon Johnson officially declared Waterloo, NY as the birthplace of Memorial Day. And in May of 1971, Memorial Day was declared as a National Holiday thru a Congressional passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363).
In one of the famous speeches of President Ronald Reagan at the Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day in 1986, he was able to give meaning and importance to Memorial Day for all Americans.
“Today is the day we put aside to remember fallen heroes and to pray that no heroes will ever have to die for us again. It's a day of thanks for the valor of others, a day to remember the splendor of America and those of her children who rest in this cemetery and others. It's a day to be with the family and remember. "
Each city and town have a different way of celebrating Memorial Day. Most still flock to cemeteries and memorials to leave flowers and American Flags in the graves of the brave men who died fighting. Memorials are held where leaders speak honoring the people in the Military and most towns host parades to celebrate this day.
Many plans are made for the long weekend ahead, and whatever your plans may be. It is important that we remember the sacrifices made by our fellow Americans that bought us our freedom. Remember that they have not died in vain.
Happy Memorial Day!
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