Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by Gen. John Logan, the commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. It was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers and wreaths were carefully placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery, in memory of the sacrifices both forces made. It was an attempt to bring healing and solidarity to a country torn by the Civil War.
Since then, it has evolved into a day where the brave men and women of our Armed Forces, who have fallen in service to our country, are honored. In the wars and conflicts that followed, many brave men and women lost their lives to further the cause of liberty and defense of our country.
Contrary to some popular beliefs, it is not just a day to place flowers on the graves of any of our loved ones who have passed on. That’s a wonderful family remembrance, which should be carried out on many days throughout the year. However, it’s not why we observe Memorial Day. This time has been set aside to commemorate the sacrifices made by the fallen members of our Armed Forces.
Sadly, traditional observance of Memorial Day has diminished over the years. Many Americans recently have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored and neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades.
I have been increasingly upset by the disrespect some people have shown to our returning veterans and to those who have died defending our country. My blood boils when I see politicians use our fallen heroes for “photo ops,” then turn around and apologize to the world for our troops, who act in defense of our way of life. Our military and their families deserve better from us. They need our support, prayers and respect.