Beyond The Barbecue : Celebrate Memorial Day with Malibu Apothecary

Hi friends of Malibu Apothecary and candle lovers everywhere! Today, we are taking a break from our regular blog topics to discuss Memorial Day and how we can honor our veterans and the fallen heroes of our country. It's the last Monday of May and the peace of a long weekend continues and the anticipation for summer builds. Yet, Memorial Day is more than just a time for barbecues and sales. It is a day of remembrance to honor the brave men and women who have sacrificed their lives for the freedoms we enjoy today.

The Origins of Memorial Day

Memorial Day's roots trace back to the aftermath of the Civil War, a conflict that claimed more American lives than any other, necessitating the establishment of the country's first national cemeteries. Originally known as Decoration Day, it was a time when Americans would decorate the graves of fallen soldiers with flowers, wreaths, and flags.

The first official Decoration Day was observed on May 30, 1868. General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance. That day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.

Evolution into a National Holiday

Over time, the observance of Decoration Day expanded to honor all American military personnel who died in all wars. The term "Memorial Day" became more common after World War II, and the day officially became known as Memorial Day in 1967. In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May, providing a three-day weekend for federal employees. This change went into effect in 1971 and Memorial Day was declared a federal holiday.

The True Meaning of Memorial Day

While it's easy to get caught up in the festivities of the long weekend, it's crucial to remember the true essence of Memorial Day. It's a day to pause and reflect on the ultimate sacrifice made by those in the armed forces. It's about acknowledging the cost of freedom and ensuring that the legacy of these brave souls is never forgotten.

Across the country, communities gather for parades, ceremonies, and moments of silence. Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, often placing American flags on graves of military personnel. The National Moment of Remembrance, established by Congress in 2000, encourages Americans to pause at 3 p.m. local time for one minute to remember and honor those who have died in military service.

How Can I Honor Memorial Day?

  1. Attend a Local Ceremony: Many towns and cities host parades and memorial services. These events often include speeches, military displays, and the laying of wreaths.
  2. Visit a Cemetery: Pay your respects by visiting a local cemetery. You can bring flowers or flags to place on the graves of veterans.
  3. Participate in the National Moment of Remembrance: At 3 p.m. local time, pause whatever you are doing and reflect on the sacrifices made by the military.
  4. Support Veterans and Their Families: Consider donating to organizations that support veterans and their families. Volunteering at a VA hospital or writing letters of appreciation to veterans are also meaningful ways to give back.
  5. Educate Yourself and Others: Take the time to learn about the history of Memorial Day and share that knowledge with others. Understanding the significance of the day helps ensure that future generations continue to honor and remember the fallen.

 

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