This is a tough holiday. On one hand, we want to enjoy the time off by firing up the grill and having a big cookout with friends and family. On the other hand, we want to think of the friends and family members we've lost over the years. Like most folks, I have a lot of them to think about.
We especially honor those who have died in the service of our country. They are our fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters. Remember.
The National Moment of Remembrance asks Americans to pause wherever they are in an act of national unity (duration: one minute) at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day. Participation can be as informal as one minute of silence or ringing a bell three times to signify the Moment. For more information, visit the National Moment of Remembrance website.
Memorial Day was first celebrated in 1868. The full story can be found at Memorial Day History. I remember my grandmother calling it Decoration Day. She always gathered buckets of flowers, especially peonies and iris, to carry to the cemetery to decorate the graves of all family members.
It was originally intended that Memorial Day be observed on May 30th and have a single focus. By changing the date to the last Monday in May, thus giving working Americans a three-day weekend, some feel Congress may have undermined the day's original purpose. It doesn't seem that way, however, when we see the number of special events across the country.
The one single, but huge, symbolic act to catch my attention is the Boy Scouts of America flag project. For forty-two years, Scouts have decorated the graves of our veterans across the country with miniature American flags. In Willamette National Cemetery in Oregon, for instance, 140,000 graves were so honored.
I hope you enjoy the blessings of family and friends on this special day.