For many of us, Memorial Day represents the “unofficial beginning of summer.” After all the weather has finally turned warmer across the entire country and we have a 3-day weekend. But I also believe that most of us know that Memorial Day has a much deeper meaning than that – although many get the true meaning confused.
So allow me to remind everyone that Memorial Day is not a day to honor veterans of the armed forces—that’s what Veterans Day is all about. Instead, Memorial Day honors men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice and died while serving their country.
Originally known as Decoration Day and observed on May 30, the original intent was to honor and remember veterans of the Northern Army in the Civil War (many Southern states honored their dead on separate days until after World War I). As the United States became involved in more wars, the remembrance evolved into Memorial Day to honor soldiers who died in all wars. In 1971, it became an official federal holiday celebrated on the final Monday in May.
Tradition holds that a Presidential Armed Forces Full Honor Wreath-Laying Ceremony will take place on Monday at Arlington National Cemetery at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. In addition, a national moment of remembrance is set to take place at 3 p.m. Monday. Please join me in a moment of silence at that time to remember our fallen heroes. The freedom and liberty we enjoy today is due in large part to their sacrifice.