While my weekend will consist of a horse show and a barbecue with my family, many others of you will participate in parades, visit cemeteries, simply enjoy a 3 day weekend or maybe even spend some time down at the Indy 500. Even though we wil all have something different planned for the extended weekend, it is important not to forget what Monday is really about. Memorial Day is a time to pay respect to those who lost their lives while serving our country.

Growing up, I remember spending time with my cousins and going to the local parade for Memorial Day, but I didn’t really undersnat what we were celebrating. It wasn’t until I was in high school an dplayed in a band recital (yes, I was a band geek) as part of a Memorial Day celebration at a local cemetery that the importance of this holiday hit home for me. Many veterans were in attendance, and it was a very somber occasion that I was glad to be a part of.

Since Memorial Day is approaching us, I found a few interesting facts about this holiday:

  • The first observed Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, was May 30, 1868, and General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery while thousands of participants decorated the graves of Civil War soldiers.
  • Memorial Day started as a day to recognize the fallen soldiers of the Civil War, but during World War I the holiday evolved to honor all fallen American military from all wars.
  • Waterloo, New York is the offical birthplace of Memorial Day and was designated as such by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966.
  • In 1971, Memorial Day became a federal holiday. Traditionally, it was celebrated on May 30, but in 1971 the date was changed to the last Monday of May as a part of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.
  • “The National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed in December 2000 requesting all Americans to observe a moment of remembrance and respect at 3:00 p.m. local time.

In addition to the Moment of Remembrance, there are many other ways to honor the fallen soldiers including: visiting memorials, visiting cemeteries and placing flags or flowers on graves of fallen soldiers, or flying an American flag at half staff until noon. Whatever your plans for the weekend are, take a moment to remember those who died serving our country.

Also, this weekend the Indy 500 will take place, so check back for Friday’s blog to learn more about the drivers.