The Meaning of Memorial Day

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Memorial Day isn’t about long weekends and bbq’s, it’s much more than that. Memorial Day is a day to solemnly honor all men and women who have died in the US military service. It’s not to be confused with Veterans Day, which celebrates the service of US military veterans, or with Armed Forces Day, which honors men and women currently in service.

Memorial Day, which was originally known as Decoration Day, began as a way to honor soldiers who died in the Civil War, but the day now honors all US veterans who have sacrificed their lives.

On May 5th 1868 General John A Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War Veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month. He said, “The 30th of May, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed.

“I am oppressed with a sense of the impropriety of uttering words on this occasion,” said then Congressman James Garfield in an 1868 Decoration Day address at Arlington Cemetery, which still captures the true meaning of Memorial Day today. “If silence is ever golden, it must be here beside the graves of 15,000 men, whose lives were more significant than speech, and whose death was a poem, the music of which can never be sung.”

Today, Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials. Some people wear a red poppy in remembrance of those fallen in war…a tradition that began with a World War I poem. On a less somber note, many people take weekend trips or have holiday bbq’s, but let’s remember what the day is truly about….the thousands of men & women who gave their lives so that we can be free.

This Memorial Day tribute is proudly sponsored by Marv & Zip’s Repair in New Hampton, IA., specializing in tractor repair, along with small engines and other yard accessories.

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