Greetings! Welcome To Defined Sight!
Today, we are taking a quick moment to remember and thank all of those who have served for their country and fought for freedom. As well as reflect on the history of Memorial Day and traditions.
A Little History Of Memorial Day
For those of you may not be familiar with this holiday, Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day which started in the lat 1860s after the end of the Civil War. Families of the fallen began gathering in the springtime each year to decorate the graves, say a prayer and pay tribute to the fallen.
The Civil War claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history, and required the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries.
It wasn’t until 1971 when the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, passed by Congress, created a 3-day weekend for Federal employees, with every last Monday in May a Federal holiday. Most states and private businesses also followed as well and this started marking the unofficial opening summer.
Memorial Day Traditions In My Household
I grew up in a pretty non-traditional household when it comes to Memorial Day weekend activities. For this day, in my opinion.
Memorial Day Saturdays and Sundays were spent going to high school graduations. (I played in the band, so, I kind of had to be there). And Monday was dedicated to attending not one, but TWO Memorial Day services.
Both of my grandparents and grandmothers were assigned to different American Legion posts. And so we would hit up one in the early morning service. Then travel to make it just in time to see my other grandfather in a later service.
Often times, as a granddaughter, of grandmas in the American Legion Auxiliary, I had speaking roles of reading a poem, or an essay I had to write in school.
This started at about age 4, standing in the front of the service as a Junior Auxiliary member, saying the Pledge of Allegiance with other junior members. And 1st grade through my senior year in high school with other speaking roles.
Great practice for public speaking, and also helping get tied to a community.
I also liked spending time with my grandparents. Both served during WWII as well as one of my grandfather’s was at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked. As a kid, we couldn’t get him to talk about them. But, I am thankful local journalists took the time to record his story. As well as there is a documentary on the History channel that has a brief bio of him and many others.
Afternoons Of Fun In The Sun
Haha. Likely not like how most everyone spends them at lakes. And what sun? I think I remember a handful of Memorial Days that weren’t rainy and windy…
Our afternoons were spent visiting cemeteries, for hours on end, of all our relatives and family members that had passed. Kind of how the original Decoration Day started?
My Grandma would make the same trip again the following day, usually with my mom, to remove the decorations that were placed a few days earlier on the graves.
New Memorial Day Traditions
My last living grandma moved into an assisted living facility a few months ago. We heard she is actually having a fun time, and has quite the late night social life staying up (likely later than me!) playing cards with other widows.
Our family is also getting scattered further across the country, including us. And it’s harder for all of us to get together over the Memorial Day weekend.
It’s been nice taking our kiddo to the same services I went to growing up. And will likely still continue of the opportunity presents itself. But, this is the first year, in my life, we have gone on a vacation over Memorial Day.
We don’t know if we will always take a vacation over the Memorial Day weekend or week, but we would like to keep our options open in the future.
For Those Who Have Served:
Thank you for your service! We understand Memorial Day holidays are bittersweet, and we wish you and yours well.
What Does Memorial Day mean to you? Do you have any traditions you like to honor or are you creating new ones?
Comment below or shoot me an email! We would love to hear from you!
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