For most, Memorial Day is spent by the pool with family and friends and a grill. But let’s take a closer look at its history and the opportunities to honor those who gave their lives for our freedom.
General John A. Logan, a northern Civil War veteran, called for a national day of remembrance – Decoration Day – on May 30, 1868 (picked because no particular battle occured on that date) to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers. During World War I, Memorial Day (as Decoration Day came to be known) evolved to honor all deceased American military personnel.
In 1968, Congress passed an act to make Memorial Day the last Monday in May (giving federal employees – including themselves, naturally – a three-day weekend).
This year, try some new ideas to celebrate the freedom we’ve been given:
• Bring cheer to a veteran’s hospital, visiting those who are still alive, but often forgotten.
• Volunteer your time to help a disabled veteran. Offer to walk their dog, run errands, or cook a meal.
• Host a barbeque, inviting spouses and children of deployed soldiers.
• Gather some friends and check out a Memorial Day parade or church service.
Stephanie Hughes is a freelance writer and editor in Nashville, Tenn. Keep up with Stephanie at her blog: becauseofbeauty.blogspot.com.