Today is Memorial day. I, like most of you, enjoy having a day off and spending it with friends and family celebrating the beginning of Summer. Wait a second…. The beginning of Summer? Isn’t that on June 20th? You know the Summer Solstice! Then what is Memorial Day? Ah, that’s right. It is the day we set aside to honor those young men and women who have died in service to our country and kept us free.
Although I have not served in the armed forces, I have friends and family that have. Let me tell you, they deserve our respect and remembrance. Hundreds of thousands of brave men and women have given their life in service for us. More than that, each of these had parents that sent their sons and daughters off to serve and protect knowing that the ultimate sacrifice may be demanded from them. I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time looking at my kids on this day without feeling at least a shadow of the pride and pain each of these parents must have felt.
Knowing about Memorial Day is important. It is also important to teach these traditions and the reverence behind them to our children. You will hear me say often that we are our kids primary teachers. Why not use this special day to teach them a little about what has made this nation great and the cost it has required. You may even learn something yourself. Like the fact that Memorial Day was made official on May 5th 1868 by General John Logan. How many of you knew that? Here are a few other interesting pieces of information:
- The flag is flown at half-staff only until noon then raised
- The recognized Memorial Day flower is the Red Poppies
- Many ceremonies on Memorial Day will play “Taps”
- Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day
- The first state to officially observe Memorial Day was New York
- The south ignored memorial day until after WWI
- Memorial Day was not declared a federal holiday until 1971
- At 3 pm local time we are to pause for a moment of silence
Take time today to tell your kids about the meaning behind this day. Use it as a learning experience and to distill a healthy amount of pride and patriotism in them. After all, it has been with the lives of these men and women that our country was made great. Were it not for those that have died in our armed forces we would not be here at all. Lets take a day and truly remember what they have done.
And they who for their country die shall fill an honored grave, for glory lights the soldier’s tomb, and beauty weeps the brave.
~ Joseph Drake