Memorial Day: A time to remember, “Lest we forget!” Each year most people happily look forward to the Memorial Day weekend, not necessarily because of what it stands for but because it represents a day off from work or school. The majority look forward to Memorial Day because it’s an opportunity for a longer weekend to relax, to go to the beach, or to have a cook-out with family and friends. It’s a chance to forget about homework, the job, the bills, the pressures, and the everyday grind. That sounds more like Labor Day. So, what is the true meaning of Memorial Day, to remember or to forget?
The meaning of Memorial Day has expanded and changed with time. Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day and its purpose was to commemorate those who had died in service to the United States, initially the Civil war, then World War 1, and finally for all wars. Officially many remember the dead by flying flags at half-staff, visiting cemeteries, enjoying fireworks or a National concert on the Capitol lawn, and suspending work. The Holiday got its official name by law in 1967 and took effect in 1971 which changed the date from May 30th to the last Monday in May. By the 20th century the meaning had evolved or expanded as an occasion for more general expressions of memory, a time to remember those who have died whether they were in military service or not. Part 2: Befittingly Remembering.
I’m Barbara Talley, the poet who speaks and inspires. To find out more about me check out: What Does Barbara Do? or visit my website.