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Memorial Day: A Lost Holiday

A challenge not to blend, abuse, or forget this important National Holiday

Memorial Day has been observed on the last Monday of May since Congress passed the National Holiday Act of 1971. This day has been set aside in our nation's calendar to mourn the loss of those who have given their lives while serving in the military for our country's freedom. While that statement is noble and good, many of us tend to blend, abuse, or completely forget to honor those fallen Americans and their families.

If you look at schools, civic organizations, and religious facilities around the end of May, you might notice many different events to commemorate Memorial Day. A closer look will reveal a blending of many patriotic themes, such as supporting our military, being grateful for our freedom, thanking veterans... ect. While there are exceptions, very few of these Memorial Day activities truly focus on mourning or serving a lost soldier's family. Some abuse the holiday to serve political agendas, using the opportunity to broadcast information about a current war or casualty rate. Many television stations have guests commenting or debating one viewpoint or another. Sadly, it seems the majority of Americans only know Memorial day as a source of much needed rest over a 3-day weekend, a time to watch a sporting event, or an opportunity to join friends and neighbors in a backyard barbecue.

Memorial Day

While it's not a bad thing to thank Veterans for their service, there's already a holiday set aside to honor them. It is a good thing to keep abreast of the current military situations, catch up on sleep, and spend time with family and friends, but these things aren't exactly what the lawmakers had in mind when they instituted this holiday. Regardless of our political views, this is the day we are to remember and honor those brave souls that died while serving in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard.

Traditionally speaking, there are many things the government does to honor these men and women on Memorial Day. Typically, the country is invited to share in a moment of silence and our flags are flown at half staff 'till noon. Many people take it upon themselves to lay flags, candles, and flowers upon a soldier's grave. Some enthusiasts go as far as to clean up a cemetery or visit with the family of a fallen member of the armed forces. These types of activities are inspiring and remind us of the great sacrifice those individuals made.

With these great ideas in mind, and Memorial Day around the corner, how are YOU going to honor our country's fallen soldiers?


karen cameron May 25th, 2011 6:23 pm ET
war is hell and after war is worse, i feel for the ones who gave their life. the ones who declare war are never actually in the war just sit in the office and play games oblivious to the damage they have caused their boys innocence stripped from them.

Helen May 28th, 2011 6:29 am ET
I want to thank my dad who passed away in feb 2011 and all the other veterans and soliders.

Ralph Wheaton May 28th, 2011 10:52 am ET
I am a Vietnam vet, and proud to have served. I thank all those who have served before me and all those who served after me. To me thay are all hearo's fallen or alive. But memorial day is pay our respects to those men and women who gave it all. go put a american flag on a vets grave. Thank you and GOD bless everyone.

jan May 28th, 2011 6:33 pm ET
i am a daughter of a vet my uncle was a vet and my granfather were vets and they never got compensated or taken care of after they faced the fire. this country is a sad mess

randy May 30th, 2011 9:54 am ET
i went to take my son to school this morning ..mad cause he has to go on memorial day.. but when i got back this guy pull into my yard and ask me could he put up a new flag where my old one was since mine was torn from the wind and all the rain we had this year. he told me he was a marine for 20 years.i thinked him for the flag and for all he has done for this country ,its makes me feel like there is still hope for this country.. but i still think there should be no school on memorial day

Susan May 31st, 2011 2:51 pm ET
My Daddy was in World War 2. He was at Pearl Harbor when the Tommy Bomb was Let Off! He was one of the men who cleaned up the nuculear waiste when Hiroshima was Bomb at 8:24 a.m. He actually glowed like a light bulb, but Yellow like a florecent marker.
My Daddy was a hero for his Country, OUR country.
Now Daddy is gone up in Heaven, watching over us all here down in the Country he was so proud of.
I bet he's wondering about us!

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