Understanding Memorial Day…
On the fourth Monday of every May our country celebrates Memorial Day. However, if you casually ask a friend, co-worker, or even a family member about the meaning of Memorial Day, there is a pretty good chance that they will quickly say “Well, it’s a Federal Holiday to honor our military.” If you pursue the conversation they may not be able to tell you the history of the day or the true purpose of the day. They may remember attending parades, or picnics, or beach parties…perhaps even fireworks. They might mention there are always Memorial Day Sales.
Memorial Day had its beginnings in 1868, known as Decoration Day. While prior to this date it was not uncommon for family members to visit the graves of the war fallen and decorate these graves, it was on May 5, 1868, when Major John A. Logan declared May 30th to be Decoration Day.
Here are some interesting facts surrounding Memorial Day:
- In 1867 our Congress first established national cemeteries. We now have 147.
- Historians offer that Major Logan chose May 30th for Decoration Day as by that time of the year every part of the country would have flowers in bloom to lay on the graves of our war dead.
- By 1882 the name of this holiday was starting to change gradually from Decoration Day to Memorial Day.
- In 1967, during President Johnson’s administration, the name was officially changed by Federal law.
- It was not until June 28, 1968, that the Uniform Monday Holiday Act was passed by Congress and signed by President Nixon. This act officially moved Memorial Day to the last Monday in May from May 30th, always insuring a three day weekend. This act took effect in 1971.
- On Memorial Day certain rules apply to how the US Flag is flown. In the morning the flag is raised quickly to the top of the flag pole and then slowly and respectfully lowered to half-staff. At noon the flag is raised to full staff for the rest of the day.
So how will you commemorate our fallen warriors this Memorial Day?
Now that you understand a bit more about Memorial Day, we thought we would share some ideas of how to make this day about those who served and died, as a result of their duty. We invite you to take a few minutes to visit a website called Vet Friends. There is a lot to learn by visiting this site. If you are trying to locate a Memorial Day Parade in your neighborhood you can check out this directory. For example, not too far from Battleship IOWA in San Pedro, Ca.
Of course, if a National Cemetery is not located in your area you can visit any nearby cemetery and be able to determine where the veterans are laid to rest. Most graves will bear a US Flag. Stop for a bit and remember.
Saying thank you to our fallen warriors
Here at PACE Recovery Center we believe in empowering our clients to fulfill their own particular dreams. We believe that a Positive Attitudes Change Everything. Our trained addiction treatment staff helps our clients identify their specific recovery goals, and helps them achieve them. Long-term sobriety is more than simply not using alcohol or drugs, it is about living life. Helping our clients develop life skills, educational or vocational goals, not only teaches them about responsibility and accountability, but also helps improve their self-esteem.
Part of living life is learning and reaching out to others in meaningful ways. This includes taking the opportunity of a federal holiday and learning its history and celebrating it with meaning.
This year we are posting about Memorial Day a little early, so that you have time to check out your area for inspiring events. We wish you a meaningful Memorial Day.