Americans enjoy the greatest freedoms in the world because of those who died in defense of those freedoms.
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is when we recognize those who have died in military service. We celebrate it on May 29 this year.
Waterloo, New York was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, but other cities dispute that.
Memorial Day was created after the bloody Civil War to honor those who died. It was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868, by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic.
Because of the National Holiday Act of 1971, almost every state observes it on the last Monday in May. This provides a three-day weekend for Federal holidays. Some southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas; April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis’ birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.
For some, it is just a three-day weekend that officially starts summer. For those who have served and for their family and friends, it is an important remembrance.
There is nothing wrong with gathering with friends and family for a picnic or trip to the lake on Memorial Day weekend. But please don’t forget that we owe our freedom for those who made their ultimate sacrifice.