How to commemorate Memorial Day 2017

Daily News Article   —   Posted on May 26, 2017

The following is from USMemorialDay.org:

Memorial Day started off as a somber day of remembrance; a day when Americans went to cemeteries and placed flags or flowers on the graves of our war dead. It was a day to remember ancestors, family members, and loved ones who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

But now, too many people “celebrate” the day without more than a casual thought to the purpose and meaning of the day. How do we honor the 1.8 million that gave their life for America since 1775? How do we thank them for their sacrifice? We believe Memorial Day is one day to remember.

We can do so by:

  • visiting cemeteries and placing flags or flowers on the graves of our fallen heroes
  • visiting memorials
  • flying the U.S. Flag at half-staff until noon
  • flying the ‘POW/MIA Flag’ as well (Section 1082 of the 1998 Defense Authorization Act)
  • 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
  • renewing a pledge to aid the widows, widowers, and orphans of our fallen dead, and to aid the disabled veterans

USMemorialDay .org has received many emails from people expressing their thanks for those who have served and gave the ultimate sacrifice for this country. The following, received in 1999 and used with the author’s permission, sums up all the emails USMemorialDay .org has received very elegantly, and is true to the original spirit and meaning of Memorial Day:

This weekend I am going to do something different. I am going to buy some carnations each day and go to one of the nearby cemeteries and walk through the sections for soldiers. When I find a grave that has no flowers, I’ll leave one and say a prayer for the family of that person, who for some reason could not bring their soldier flowers. I will pray for our country and all who serve or have served. For their families, who also serve by losing precious days, weeks and months spent with their loved ones who are off serving, preserving peace and the freedom we have in this country. I’ll pray for the families who paid the ultimate price, who’s loved ones died, or were taken captive and never returned. I’ll pray for anyone who may still be held in captivity and thinks perhaps they are forgotten. I do NOT forget. I’ll say a prayer for every person on the Internet who takes a moment from their time to come to sites like yours and be reminded of what this holiday really means. And I’ll say a prayer of thanks and ask God’s richest blessings on you.

Thank you again…. and God bless!
Sylvia Mohr

By Mike GlennMay 22, 2015 3 Families brave the rain and visit the graves of their U.S. serviceman and women on Memorial Day at the Houston National Cemetery, Monday, May 26, 2014, in Houston. Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Houston Chronicle / © 2014 Houston Chronicle Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Houston Chronicle IMAGE 2 OF 6 Families brave the rain and visit the graves of their U.S. serviceman and women on Memorial Day at the Houston National Cemetery, Monday, May 26, 2014, in Houston.

Families brave the rain and visit the graves of their U.S. serviceman and women on Memorial Day at the Houston National Cemetery, Monday, May 26, 2014, in Houston.

In fact, wonderful people in other nations sometimes show more of the true spirit and mission of the U.S. Memorial Day than we do here. For example, a 2001 USMemorialDay .org Guestbook entry from a citizen of the Netherlands states:

Hi,

In 1999 I laid flowers at the grave of a young U.S. fighter pilot who was KIA in my village in 1945. In the Netherlands I know of schools ‘adopting’ graves of Allied servicemen, keeping those graves in excellent condition ! Does anybody know of adopting graves in the U.S. by schools?

Sincerely,
Paul Patist Castricum, The Netherlands – Tue May 15, 2001.

More schools in the U.S. could follow the lead of the Netherland schools. Let us take a few moments this Memorial Day to reflect on the meaning of the day, to observe the day and be mindful of the sacrifices of others before we go and enjoy the freedoms they bought for us.

Reprinted from usmemorialday.org/observe.htm. For educational purposes only.


Questions

PLEASE NOTE: Daily posting and “Answers” emails end for the school year today, May 26th. We wish you a wonderful summer!
Check the website during the summer for occasional posts.

1. Why was Memorial Day originally called Decoration Day?

2. What was the original purpose for Memorial Day? When/how did it change?

3. List the suggestions provided by USMemorialDay.org for how Americans should observe Memorial Day.

4. This year consider how your family can take part in any of the activities from question #3. Sure, you can barbecue - but take some time during the day to honor our fallen soldiers. Do an internet search for "2017 Memorial Day events + the name of your town/city." Consider attending the event that honors those who have died while in service.

5. a) Ask at least one grandparent how his/her family, school and community commemorated Memorial Day when he/she was a teenager.
b) Ask a parent how his/her experience differed from that of your grandparent.


Background

FACTS ABOUT MEMORIAL DAY: