Every year Memorial Day rolls around, and we do our usually celebrating of the event. Their are memorial day sales at the stores, there are plenty of cookouts, and their is just a general sense that we must all gather around in social circles. However, memorial day has something that no other holiday of this type has, it has an element of mystery surrounding it. Many people do not understand exactly what they are celebrating, or where the traditions originated. We all want to know the history, and the best ways in which we can celebrate.
Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day, and it was solely a day for remembrance of the soldiers who had died in battle. While many are still aware of this part of memorial day, in the modern day it has also morphed into a retailing holiday. The kind of activities that we associate with memorial day in the modern day would have been considered disgraceful.
Many cities and towns across the country have laid claim to the origins of memorial day. They all want to claim responsibility for something that has remained popular to this day. However, no one knows for sure exactly where the holiday originated. What does seem clear is the reason why it got it’s original name. The name Decoration day seems to originate from the fact that people (mostly women) would decorate the graves of soldiers (mostly confederate) who had died in the war. It was there way of recognizing and honoring their heroes in the war.
In may of 1966 President Lyndon Johnson officially declared Waterloo, New York as the town of origin for Memorial Day. However, this does not stop the debate over where it really started. In all likelihood the event probably began in many different towns at many different times and forms. At some point they all kind of convalesced into one event that we still recognize today.
The modern Memorial Day officially began in May 1868 when it was declared by General John Logan. In some southern states, there was a separate day named to specifically recognize confederate soldiers. This separate holiday put in place by the southern states is no longer recognized as an officially holiday in this country.
With all this history behind one day, it is no wonder that it is still celebrated by millions all across the country. What some want to know is what are some of the best ways to celebrate the holiday in the modern world. Certainly start by avoiding doing the things that seemingly everyone else does. The cookouts are nice, but there are better ways to spend your Memorial Day. You should also ignore all of the retailer’s advertisements for their sales. That is certainly not what the holiday is about, and you will only be meet with large angry crowds anyway.
One great way to honor the spirit of the holiday while at the same time enjoying your time off of work is to donate some money to the families of soldiers who have died in recent wars. This is a great way to show your thanks for their service, and to help out a family in need at the same time. Families who have lost a loved one in war often have a number of different issues that they are dealing with. They have to deal with the emotional issues that they face when losing a loved one, but they also have to worry about their financial issues now that they have one less income to rely on. Your donation (no matter how small) can have a big impact.
The modern holiday has incorporated a way for all the people in the country to honor it’s meaning at the same time. There is a national moment of remembrance that can be recognized by all individuals at 3pm local time for one minute. You can recognize the holiday in any way that you want, a moment of silence or a small prayer is a great way to show your thanks privately. This is quite another example of how to celebrate your Memorial Day in the right way.
A slightly different way to enjoy your Memorial Day is to have a picnic with your kids and family. This is something that most of us do not do often enough. While it may seem that this is not really a way to honor our fallen soldiers, in some ways it really is. These soldiers fought for your right to enjoy your freedoms with your family. They asked you for no price, their services were rendered for free. The soldiers want you to get to enjoy your freedoms, and you should take advantage as soon as possible.
One final way to recognize Memorial Day the right way is to go to the grave site of a fallen soldier. You can pick up the old traditions of this holiday and decorate that grave site with a well deserved American flag.
Another way to incorporate your family into Memorial Day celebrations is to have your kids participate in a Memorial Day parade. Many cities and towns throw Memorial Day parades every year, and it is a patriotic way to let your children have fun and recognize the great freedoms of our country. The abundance of American flags will have you remembering how great you have it in this country. Again this is a good reminder of what others have done to allow you to get to enjoy the freedoms that you enjoy every day. It is really amazing when you realize that the people who died for you would be considered strangers, but they recognized you as a fellow countryman. They were willing to die for you, so you can take a little time out of your day to recognize them as well.
Any one of these ways of celebrating certainly seems like a better plan then just doing the same old cookout and shopping for deals on retail sales.