"As America celebrates Memorial Day, we pay tribute to those who have given their lives in our nation's wars." ~John M. McHugh
Memorial Day was called Decoration Day by Mom and Dad when my two sisters and I were young. After WWII Memorial Day became the preferred name. But since Decoration Day was what they grew up with, it's what they continued to call it for many years. And up until 1971, it was always on May 30th.
As kids we knew it was a day to decorate graves and honor those who died fighting for our freedom. Dad was a WWII Army veteran and very active in his American Legion Post. Memorial Day meant we'd get up early and head to the Legion for Dad to march in the annual parade. The parade concluded at a nearby cemetery where we'd solemnly stand for the remembrance service which included placing wreaths, prayer, music, and a 21 gun salute. I remember knowing this was serious and important.
When we finally got home, we decorated our bikes with crepe paper by weaving it through the wheel spokes, and hanging streamers to make our bikes patriotic. Then we'd parade around the block because decorating and parading were what Decoration Day was all about after all.
This year Memorial Day is today. On June 28, 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act which moved some holidays to a specified Monday to create "convenient" three day weekends. The law took effect on January 1, 1971. Memorial Day moved from May 30th, as it had been celebrated from 1868 - 1970, to the last Monday in May.
Our flag flies this Memorial Day. We'll watch for the annual Memorial Day 5K race that goes by our house. Often we attend a parade that ends at a cemetery for a remembrance service which includes placing wreaths, prayer, music, a 21 gun salute, and sometimes a fly over by the Air Force Reserve.
"We must never forget freedom isn't free." ~Unknown