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Honoring Memorial Day


Memorial Day used to be a solemn day of mourning, a sacred day of remembrance to honor those who paid the greatest price for our freedoms. Businesses closed for the day. Towns held parades honoring the fallen, the parade routes often times ending at a local cemetery, where speeches were given and prayers offered up. People took the time that day to clean and decorate with flowers and flags the graves of those the fell in service to their country

Due to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968—which moved observances of several holidays to create long weekends—Memorial Day has for decades been held on the last Monday in May, we have lost sight of the significance of this day to our geat nation. The traditional day of observance of Memorial Day, just one day out of the year to honor our loved ones, our ancestors, our friends who died in conflicts and wars, is May 30th. Instead of using Memorial Day as a time to honor and reflect on the sacrifices made by Americans in combat, many Americans use the day as for celebrating the beginning of summer.

A majority of Americans view Memorial Day as a time for relaxation and leisure recreation and not as a solemn occasion and a time to show and pay tribute to the American servicemen and women who sacrificed their lives in defense of our Nation,” according to an American Legion resolution issued at the group’s 2010 National Convention. Their mission during this time was to restore the official observance of Memorial Day to May 30 and that all American institutions toll their bells for one minute, beginning at 11:00, on that date to remember those who died defending the Nation.

Unlike Veteran’s Day, which honors all of those who fight or have fought to defend our country, or Independence Day, which is a day of celebration for America and our freedom, Memorial Day is a day set aside specifically for honoring those who have died for the United States. It’s more of a day of respect and reverence than one of celebration.

The “Memorial” in Memorial Day has been ignored by too many of us who are beneficiaries of those who have given the greatest sacrifice. Often we do not observe the day as it should be, a day where we actively remember our ancestors, our family members, our loved ones, our neighbors, and our friends who have given the ultimate sacrifice:

  • by visiting cemeteries and placing flags or flowers on the graves of our fallen heroes.
  • by visiting memorials.
  • by flying the U.S. Flag at half-staff until noon.
  • by flying the ‘POW/MIA Flag’
  • by participating in a “National Moment of Remembrance”: at 3 p.m. to pause and think upon the true meaning of the day, and for taps to be played.
  • by renewing a pledge to aid the widows, widowers, and orphans of our fallen dead, and to aid the disabled veterans.

During your barbecue, picnic, or mini-vacations, please take a moment of silence for honoring the lives that were lost in the name of freedom. We are able to celebrate this weekend because of those freedoms that are defended. 

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]

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