Memorial Day is almost here: the semi-official start of summer.
It is a three-day weekend. So much to do, from food festivals to music concerts to baseball games and more.
But what about honoring America’s war dead?
May 30th, 1868, was the first Decoration Day, as it was then called. Citizens decorated the graves of the fallen. After World War I, the day became a time for remembering all war dead, not just those of the Civil War. In 1968 Congress moved the date from May 30 to the last Monday in May. Memorial Day became an official federal holiday in 1971.
So, what can we do to remember and show our gratitude? Here are some suggestions, courtesy of BreakPoint.
- Fly the flag. Properly. At half-mast until noon. According to USMemorialDay.org, “The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service of their country. At noon, their memory is raised by the living, who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.”
- Attend a memorial service. There are two locally on Monday. 10:00 AM at the Conquest Cemetery in Zellwood and at 11:00 AM at the Edgewood/Greenwood Cemetery in Apopka.
- Attend a Memorial Day parade. There is one at 10:00 AM on Monday in Sanford.
- Attend a Memorial Day concert. Bok Tower will have a musical salute with special patriotic carillon concerts at 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM. Free admission for active, retired and disabled veterans.
- Visit a national cemetery and decorate graves.
- Visit a military museum or battlefield.
- Observe the National Moment of Remembrance at 3:00PM on Monday. Since 2000, Americans have been asked to “voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of Remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to Taps.”
- Donate to organizations that help our nation’s veterans and families.
Enjoy the long weekend. But find a way to honor those who, through their sacrifice, made this weekend possible.