Celebrate Memorial Day?
When many Americans celebrate Memorial Day, they take advantage of a three-day weekend, barbecuing with family, and marathon shopping. But we at Packages From Home refuse to celebrate Memorial Day in that way. Why? While we all appreciate a good clearance sale and spending time relaxing by the pool. Celebrating those things by attaching them to Memorial Day distracts from the meaning of this important national holiday.
The History of the Day
Historically Memorial Day honors and remembers American military heroes who died while serving our country. Memorial Day was previously known as Decoration Day and the holiday was first observed in 1868. On Decoration Day flowers were placed on graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. Memorial Day later changed from honoring only Civil War soldiers to include fallen heroes from all American wars.
On this important day, you may notice VFW volunteers exchanging red poppies for donations to military organizations. This tradition began after the 1st World War and was inspired by the poem “In Flanders Field.” The poem describes the wild red poppies growing on a Belgian battlefield. The wearing of a red poppy soon became a tradition to reflect on those sacrifices.
Another tradition is to fly American flags at half-staff in memory of fallen heroes. Surviving family raising the flag at noon is a symbol of carrying on. Recently, Scouting organizations have adopted the custom of placing American flags at military grave sites.
Not long ago, Americans remembered and honored their fallen heroes with community remembrances and parades. However, many of our country’s people focus more on taking a day off and saving money.
The sacrifice of those who died in service for our country must not be celebrated, they must be remembered. Americans are afforded our freedom because of the many brave troops who gave everything for this great country.
While you’re spending time with loved ones enjoying great deals at favorite stores, take a moment to thank those who made it possible. Reflect upon what it means to be an American. Offer gratitude to those who died in service, and share the meaning of Memorial Day with our children. Because remembering why we honor our fallen heroes is a tradition worth upholding.