Memorial Day in Asheville is less than two weeks away and in order to send my guests for a rolicking good time for that weekend I sought to become familiar with the “fun things” they could do when they leave our inn after breakfast. I began my search. Then, I came to another thought. Is Memorial Day really about the celebrations? Perhaps the celebrations, the long weekend, the kick off to the summertime has concealed the real meaning of Memorial Day and it is to that reminder this blog will be dedicated.
In the United States of America this federal holiday takes place on the last Monday in May. Initially known as Decoration Day, the purpose of this holiday is in celebration of the U.S. men and women who died in military service for our country.
Began first to honor Union soldiers who died during the American Civil War and after World War 1, it was expanded to include those who died in any war or military action.
The official birthplace of Memorial Day celebrations is Waterloo, New York observing the holiday on May 5, 1868 for the first time as Decoration Day. Each subsequent year, General John Murray and General Logan, both distinguished citizens of Waterloo, N.Y., called for the day to be observed and hence were directly responsible for the spread of this holiday to the entire nation.
The South was reticent to adopt this celebration due to lingering attitudes toward the Union Army, which this holiday was commemorating and failed to acknowledge this holiday until after World War 1. While first used in 1882, the name, Memorial Day, did not attain popular status until after World War II. It was not declared the official name of the holiday by Federal law until 1967. President Nixon made it a national holiday in 1971.
This year, while you are happily kicking off your summer whereever that may find you thanking God for the three day weekend you are lucky to enjoy living free in our blessed country honor A National Moment of Remembrance which takes place at 3:00 p.m. In that silence remember the teenager, sister, son, brother, daughter, mother and more titles than I can possibly count, who all served under the common title of soldier. Use that silence to honor the sacrifice of their lives and join me in a fervent prayer for the day when the Joint Chiefs of Staff can be joined on Capitol hill with the Department of Peace.