Today in History: Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day.

Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday in May to honour men and
women who died during military service.  Originally, Memorial Day was to
honour Union soldiers (soldiers from the North) who died during the
Civil War, but after World War I, anyone who had died during American
military action was included.

Today, Memorial Day has become less about the honoured dead, but more about
marking the first day of the American “summer.”  Since it is a federal
holiday, and most people get the day off work, most people have picnics,
barbecues and start their vacation.  Indy 500 is usually run on or about
Memorial Day.

People who actually observe its true purpose visit the various memorials
dedicated to military men and women who lost their lives.  They drape
Old Glory over grave sites at the National Cemetary The flag is flown at
half-staff and there is a moment of silence at 3pm eastern time.

When Memorial Day was first observed back in the late 1800s, southerners
refused to participate.  Mostly because they were pissed they got beat.
There was animosity with the Union soldiers.

More recent controversy is that certain organizations want to apply a
fixed date for Memorial Day, May 30, instead of using the last Monday of
May.  They say using the last Monday of May is just a way for people to
make 3 day weekends for barbecues and family outings, not because they
actually care about people who died in service.  One Senator has
introduced measures to change the date every year since 1987, but so
far, I’m thinking that Congress likes its 3 day weekends too.

You ain’t know before, and now you do.


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