Sunday, May 25, 2014

Decoration Day - Memorial Day

This coming Monday 26 May 2014 will be Memorial Day.

When asked, most people will say that Memorial Day is the start of summer.  And you will be surprised at the number of people who do not know the origins of Memorial Day.   Most people will celebrate their 3 day weekend with camping trips, BBQ's and family get-together's.  Never stopping to think about all the military men and women that have given their lives for this country so that we may have the freedoms we have today.  Most people don't realize that there is a difference between Memorial day and Veterans Day.  Veterans Day honors men and women who have served in the Armed Forces, while Memorial Day honors those who died while serving their country in a war or military conflict.

As a way for people to honor Civil War soldiers who died while serving their country, Decoration day was born.  Why was it called Decoration Day?  It was a time for people to "decorate" the graves of their relatives who fought in the Civil War with flowers and to clean up the cemeteries.  Decoration Day originally was celebrated May 30.  Today we celebrate Memorial Day (Decoration Day) the last Monday of the month of May, by placing flags on the graves of service men and women who died while in service during a war or other military conflict.

Sometime after the end of the World War II, Decoration Day became better known as Memorial Day.  This was also the time that it started to honor all brave military service men and women who died while serving their country during a war or other military conflict, not just the Civil War.  The term Memorial Day was first used around 1882, and did not become Federal Law until 1967.  The Federal Law was part of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act; however, it really didn't take effect until 1971.

At sunrise on Memorial Day the U.S. flag is raise quickly to full staff, then lowered to half mast slowly where it will fly till noon.  After noon the flag will then be raised back up to full staff for the rest of the day.  Do you know why?  The half mast is so we will remember all the service men and women who have given their lives serving their country, and when the flag is raised back to full staff, their memory is raised by and for the living to continue the fight for liberty and justice.  Something that we all need to remember!

I come from a long line of military men and women.  My maternal side of the family (King, Wise, Neitzey, Mills) are from Washington DC.  My paternal side of the family (Sanders, Medlock, Edmonson, McGee) are from Georgia and Alabama.  I have several ancestors who fought in the Civil War.  My intentions was to honor one of them for this Memorial Day, I just have enough data to do that now.  Hopefully by this time next year I will be able to honor a couple of them.

So with having said all the above, I would like to thank all my ancestors as well as any one who has served and died either in a war or other military conflict.  By you giving of your life, I enjoy my freedoms and rights that you have allowed me to have.  It was not in vain.  Thank You!!


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