Memorial Day started as an event to honor Union soldiers who had died during the American Civil War. It was inspired by the way people in the Southern states honored their dead. After World War I, it was extended to include all men and women who died in any war or military action.
Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day. The current name for this day did not come into use until after World War II. Decoration Day and then Memorial Day used to be held on May 30, regardless of the day of the week, on which it fell. In 1968, the Uniform Holidays Bill was passed as part of a move to use federal holidays to create three-day weekends. This meant that that, from 1971, Memorial Day holiday has been officially observed on the last Monday in May.
This holiday should not be filled with remorse; I find it irritating seeing so many Memorial Day shaming posts throughout social media regarding our American traditions.
This Memorial Day, I encourage everyone to enjoy their long weekend getting out of town, firing up the grill, drinking beer or appreciating life with family and friends whatever way they're accustomed to. Just know your history, and if you don't, enlighten yourself. Teach your children. Acknowledge the sacrifices that were made, and ultimately, never forget.
"We come, not to mourn our dead soldiers, but to praise them." - Francis A. Walker
Happy Memorial Day, everyone!