While it is customary for Americans to use the day off from work and school to have picnics, parties, and enjoy the (sometimes) nice weather, it's important to remember why we are fortunate enough to have a day off: the sacrifices of soldiers from all American conflicts. It's because of them that we live in a free country, and we should all take time to stop and thank them for their service and to also honor those brave men and women that are still fighting for that freedom!
Memorial Day Facts
1) Memorial Day can be traced back to an 1868 proclamation by Gen. John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, calling for the 30th of May to be a day of remembrance for those lost in the Civil War. There was no official ceremony, so those at military outposts could plan their own ceremonies as they saw fit. After World War I, Memorial Day was expanded to honor soldiers who died in all American military conflicts.
2) The original name of Memorial Day was "Decoration Day."
3) Each Memorial Day, the president or vice president gives a speech in honor of fallen soldiers and places a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.
4) Before Memorial Day Weekend, the 3rd U.S. Infantry places over 260,000 small American flags at soldiers' graves at Arlington. It takes about 3 hours to complete the placement.
5) It was not until 1971 that Congress declared Memorial Day to be the last Monday in May.
(I got the facts from the Washington Post)
So while you're out enjoying your Memorial Day festivities, take a minute to show your appreciation to our honored soldiers who continue to fight for your freedom this very moment!