Technically, summer doesn’t start until June 21. But many people consider Memorial Day to be the unofficial start of the season. This year, we celebrate the holiday on May 30th. Many families will heat up the grill, head to the beach or take in a big blockbuster movie. But Memorial Day has the word “memorial” in it for a reason.
The holiday got started on May 30, 1868, when Union General John A. Logan declared the day an occasion to decorate the graves of Civil War soldiers. Twenty years later, the name was changed to Memorial Day. On May 11, 1950, Congress passed a resolution requesting that the President issue a proclamation calling on Americans to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer. President Richard M. Nixon declared Memorial Day a federal holiday in 1971. Memorial Day is now observed on the last Monday of May. It is an occasion to honor the men and women who died in all wars.
Remembering Those Who Served
It is customary to mark Memorial Day by visiting graveyards and war monuments. One of the biggest Memorial Day traditions is for the President or Vice President to give a speech and lay a wreath on soldiers’ graves in the largest national cemetery, Arlington National Cemetery, in Virginia. Most towns have local Memorial Day celebrations. Here are some ways you can honor the men and women who serve our country:
– Put flags or flowers on the graves of men and women who served in wars.
– Fly the U.S. flag at half-staff until noon.
– Visit monuments dedicated to soldiers, sailors and marines.
– Participate in a National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. local time.
– March in a parade.
It’s incredible what a monumental day this is. A time to remember that every freedom we have and enjoy is because someone fought for this country and gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Many people go about their daily lives and don’t even think about it. They will also spend this Memorial Day believing it’s about a family get together and a reason to have a nice barbecue. They don’t realize that every single freedom they enjoy every single day; even HAVING their families intact, the fact that they are even able to gather together was given to them from the life of fallen soldiers’.
Millions of people in this country go about their daily lives living each day in peace and harmony not realizing it was brought to them through someone who believed in their freedom so much they gave their life fighting for it.
Memorial Day Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father,
On this day of remembrance for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy every day, we think of how they have followed in the footsteps of your son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Please hold our servicemen and women in your strong arms. Cover them with your sheltering grace and your presence as they stand in the gap for our protection.
We also remember the families of our troops. We ask for your unique blessings to fill their homes, and we pray your peace, provision, hope and strength will fill their lives.
May the members of our armed forces be supplied with courage to face each day and may they trust in the Lord’s mighty power to accomplish each task. Let our military brothers and sisters feel our love and support.
In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray,
“That we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
— Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, 1863