Originally published on Chelsea’s Blog.
This Memorial Day weekend it’s important for families to remember the true meaning behind this federal holiday. Originating after the Civil War as a way to commemorate fallen soldiers, Memorial Day (formerly Decoration Day) now serves to honor all Americans who have died in war, while serving in the United States Armed Forces. This is a day for remembering.
While many families might visit cemeteries and memorials to honor fallen family members, others may choose to celebrate the weekend by attending a Memorial Day parade or throwing a family barbecue or even taking a trip to the beach – since Memorial Day is often recognized as the unofficial start to the summer break season.
Some would argue that over the years – perhaps because of the holiday’s association with summer vacation and family fun gatherings in general – Memorial Day’s traditional observance and meaning have greatly diminished. Many Americans have forgotten the true meaning behind the day, and many are unaware of its traditions. The National Moment of Remembrance resolution (2000) was thus passed to remind Americans of the significance behind Memorial Day:
Memorial Day represents one day of national awareness and reverence, honoring those Americans who died while defending our Nation and its values. While we should honor those heroes every day for the profound contribution they have made to securing our Nation’s freedom, we should honor them especially on Memorial Day.
The moment of remembrance takes place at 3 p.m. local time every Memorial Day, encouraging people to pause for one minute to remember and reflect on the sacrifices made for our nation.
Memorial Day offers parents a great opportunity to engage in conversation with their kids about the day’s history and the sacrifices that American soldiers have made to protect our freedoms.