On the last Monday of each May, most are accustomed to a three-day weekend, accompanied by family road trips, outdoor cook-outs, and department store sales. Many of us see it as the unofficial kick off to summer. This year, perhaps more than ever before, families across the nation look forward to coming together – but what exactly IS Memorial Day?
We ask because we hear it every year: “Happy Memorial Day.”
For many families who have lost loved ones, it’s not a happy day, and it’s not a day intended to be celebrated in the traditional sense of that word. If you’re thinking to yourself “I have said this, but it wasn’t my intent to be disrespectful”, then we encourage you to please take a moment to learn why the holiday exists and how you might recognize it.
Originally deemed “Decoration Day” as a way to recognize the soldiers lost during the Civil War, the day gradually expanded to memorialize all those who have given their lives throughout the long history of war in the US. The holiday was officially recognized in 1971, and now, 40 years later, Memorial Day continues to be a distinguished day to remember the military personnel who we have lost.
For some, the meaning of Memorial Day is deeply personal. It is a day to mourn a dear grandparent, parent, spouse, child, or friend who died in service to our nation. To those who have felt this loss, Code of Support Foundation would like to extend our sincere condolences to you, and gratitude for your loved one.
For others, we ask you to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day, and seek ways to honor our nation’s heroes who died in service to our great nation. Plan a visit to a military cemetery or war memorial, attend local activities hosted by local veteran groups, or simply take a moment to learn more about those who serve our nation at codeofsupport.org.
Then, please share this message. Talk to your neighbors about how they plan to commemorate the holiday, or speak with your children about the reason we, as a nation, set aside one day each year to remember those who have given their lives in defense of our freedoms.
Together, we can reignite the true purpose of Memorial Day – never allowing ourselves to forget the ultimate sacrifice made by our fallen heroes and their families.
If you are struggling with the proper thing to say as Monday approaches, here are a few alternatives:
I wish you a meaningful Memorial Day.
I hope you enjoy your weekend, and pause to remember its purpose.
Help remember those who have served on this Memorial Day.
With this in mind, we sincerely hope you have a wonderful, meaningful weekend.