Memorial Day, celebrated in the United States, honors those who have died while serving in the military. The first national commemoration of Memorial Day took place on May 30, 1868. General John A. Logan declared that the day would be dedicated to decorating the graves of the soldiers who died in the Civil War of which, thousands died on both sides of the conflict. In the early years of the war, the dead were often buried in mass graves without any formal ceremony.
It wasn't until the latter part of the war that the idea of honoring soldiers with a proper burial gained traction. In April 1865, a week after General Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House, President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. Lincoln's death sparked a wave of public mourning, and the government began to recognize the need for a national cemetery system to honor fallen soldiers.
The first national cemetery was established at Arlington, Virginia, in 1864, and it was from this cemetery that the first official Memorial Day ceremony was held on May 30, 1868. The holiday became known as Decoration Day because of the tradition of decorating the graves with flowers and flags. It gained in popularity, and by the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were held throughout the country. In 1971, Memorial Day was officially declared a federal holiday by an act of Congress.
In the decades that followed, Memorial Day continued to be observed with ceremonies and parades throughout the country. After World War I, the holiday was expanded to honor all Americans who had died in any war, not just the Civil War.
Today, Memorial Day remains an important holiday in the United States, and it is a day when Americans come together to honor and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
How can you honor troops this weekend? Think about them. Research and read about real people and what they did. Remember them. Educate those around you about the importance and reason behind the holiday. Acknowledge those who died in service and how blessed you are to live in the United States. Fight against powers that try to usurp the American way of life and principles we are founded on. Read the constitution - familiarize yourself with your rights and what was fought for. Love those who are still alive and in service today. Supporting our troops is of paramount importance to the nation's security, cultural, and moral well-being. Our military personnel safeguard our freedoms, rights, and privileges by putting their own lives on the line, often enduring harsh conditions and trauma, while they fight against adversaries. I cannot overemphasize the significant contribution they make to our society and the sacrifices they and their families have made just so we can enjoy our lives.
Thus, we must ensure they receive the best possible care, compensation, and resources available to make their lives easier. An adequate support system gives our troops the ability to focus their entire attention on the task they are assigned without worrying about their personal and family life. Therefore, supporting our troops, both living and departed, past and present, is not just our moral obligation, but it’s also our national duty which should be done not only this weekend, but every day.
"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." - John 15:13