I hope that this email finds everyone healthy and safe.
As I read the news headlines this morning, there was a headline in the United States copy of the British newspaper The Sun that read "MEMORIAL LOSS Less than HALF of Americans know the true meaning behind Memorial Day". I would like to take this opportunity to share my thoughts about the meaning of the observance that we refer to as "Memorial Day".
To memorialize the overwhelming number of the dead resulting from the American Civil War many communities, both North and South, had organized "Decoration Days" where the community members visited their local cemeteries to insure that the gravesites were kept up. General John Logan, a leading member of the Northern Veterans organization the "Grand Army of the Republic '' pushed to have a National day of recognition of our Nation's war dead. He selected 30 May for the observance as there had been no major Civil War battles (he did not want the day to become known as an anniversary of a battle). Over the years this took hold and became known as Memorial Day, a day to remember and show our appreciation to those who paid the ultimate price in the name of freedom in support of all of our Nation's armed conflicts.
In 1968 Congress passed the "National Holidays Act" which moved Memorial Day ( and several other American holidays) to the last Monday of the month in order to give federal employees a three day weekend. This is when Memorial Day started to become known as the beginning of summer and the true meaning became lost.
Please do not allow the meaning of the day to be forgotten. Many around us live everyday with the remembrance of loss associated with military service. Whether it was a loved one, a friend's loved one or an unknown who made the ultimate sacrifice so that you didn't have to, they should be remembered. So please rethink the greeting of "happy Memorial Day" and what that may imply and what the meaning may be to someone grieving from the loss of someone special. Please remember and don't allow our appreciation for those who made the ultimate sacrifice be forgotten.
Lieutenant Colonel (Retired), Special Forces
NEVER FORGOTTEN ~ ALWAYS REMEMBERED