The traditional manner of Memorial Day observance has faded over the years since 1868. Many of us have forgotten the meaning of Memorial Day. Memorial Day is traditionally marked as a solemn, sacred day to remember our deceased military and to clean-up and decorate the graves of fallen soldiers who gave their lives for a cause –whatever that cause may have been. At many cemeteries, those graves are increasingly ignored, neglected. The military graves which used to be decorated now stand bare because the People no longer have focus.
The National Moment of Remembrance
A presidential resolution only a dozen years ago established another way for Americans to honor our heroes beyond cemetery visits, parades and other special ceremonies.
The “National Moment of Remembrance” calls for citizens to pause for one minute at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day “to remember and reflect on the sacrifices made by so many to provide freedom for all.” Each year at 3:00 p.m., local time, on Memorial Day, Americans unite in a National Moment of Remembrance which honors America’s fallen and their families. During this Moment, 200 Amtrak trains blast their whistles, approximately 500,000 Major League Baseball fans are joined in silence, and countless other participants make a vow to remember.
This Act recognizes in law a commemoration begun on Memorial Day in May 1997, when “Taps” was played at 3:00 p.m. on many radio and television stations across the Nation as Americans paused to remember the men and women who have lost their lives in service to our country.
What can you or I do?
- Tell a soldier thanks. This simple, free act can mean a lot to a soldier.
- Donate a cell phone through Cell Phones for Soldiers, Inc., which uses the proceeds from recycling donated cell phones to buy prepaid phone cards for soldiers that are overseas.
- Decorate the grave of a fallen soldier with flowers, wreathes or other decorations. This simple act shows your gratitude. If your community won’t permit decoration, ask to clean a grave site.
- Honor fallen soldiers on Memorial Day by observing the National Moment of Remembrance.
- VFW “Buddy Poppies” are assembled by financially disadvantaged and disabled veterans who are paid for their work. Donate and Wear one.
“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!” — Maya Angelou, poet
… And don’t forget to plan a feast for Memorial Day – with friends and loved ones. Next time we’ll talk about the food and the mood!