Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

In general, most Americans see Memorial Day as an extra day off from work - a freebie.  We lose sight of the fact that Memorial Day is a time to reflect and thank those that have sacrificed their lives to protect and serve our country.

Here's a brief bit of history as to how the day started:

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 197.

Over the past 10 years, I've been researching my family tree.  I've learned that I come from a long line of patriots and heroes.  Going back to the Revolutionary War, I can see the sacrifice and loss that affected my family.  The Civil War found my family fighting on both sides - and losing husbands, sons and loved ones. 

As Americans, each of us probably has a story in our past that is intertwined with our freedom.  Let's not lose site of the fact that even if we are not in the military ourselves, there are still things we can do to support our troops and honor their memory.   Just Google "Support our Troops" and you'll be amazed at how many sites are out there to help our troops!  I personally love the USO site.  It shows many different ways you can help in your local community to support our military.  The company I work for has done things like stuff boxes with toiletries and luxury items for our troops.  We've written notes and letters and sent them off as well to thank the recipients for their sacrifices.  We let them know they aren't invisible and that they matter.

While Memorial Day is an important part of our American heritage, let's not wait until we lose our military to thank and appreciate them!   Happy Memorial Day ya'll and thanks to all of our veterans for their sacrifice, dedication and heroism!

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