Today is the day we call Memorial Day. For most Americans, it is the signal that summer is beginning. It is a long weekend filled with gatherings at the beach or around a pool, cook outs in the park, and backyard barbeques with family and friends. I am all in favor of barbeques and love any gathering that includes my family and friends. We will be having such a gathering today ourselves and I will happily share some yummy recipes with you at the end of this post. Sadly though, many people have no real recollection that this day was originally meant to be an observance of those who gave their lives in service to their country.
In the South, Memorial Day is also called Decoration Day. After the Civil War the families of soldiers from both the North and South took a day to gather as family and decorate the graves of their loved ones who had died in battle, this is how Memorial Day actually began and was made an official national holiday in 1868. Up until 1971, Memorial Day was always celebrated on May 3oth, no matter what day of the week it fell. But in an effort to insure there would always be a 3 day weekend, Congress changed the date of Memorial Day to be the last Monday in May. So now we always have a long weekend to begin the summer, but in the process can lose sight of the real purpose of this day.
Take time today to think of those among your family or friends who have given their lives that we might enjoy our freedom. Fly your flag if you have one, or go out and buy one if you don’t. And while you are enjoying your barbeque, or picnic in the park, or your day at the beach, remind your children or grandchildren why the flags are flying and why we celebrate this day. In doing that you will remember yourself and give thanks and honor to those who as Abraham Lincoln eloquently said in his Gettysburg Address, “gave the last full measure of devotion”.
We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
~ Moina Michael ~ 1915
With a heart full of love, joy and gratitude for those who served and died to ensure we can have an abundant life,