Let me start by extending wishes for an enjoyable and safe Memorial Day Weekend. I also want to remind you "Why Do We Celebrate Memorial Day?"; and share some interesting Memorial Day facts.
This is important, particularly in a presidential election year where we are all overwhelmed by all the political ads that focus only on all the negative things in Americans' lives simply as a way to secure their votes (If you aren’t sick of them by now, just wait until this fall!).
We celebrate Memorial Day to honor the service men and women of this great nation whose commitment and service allow us as Americans to enjoy a high standard of living and conveniences/luxuries that most of the world will never experience.
So at least on this holiday weekend, try to put aside all the complaints, gripes and negatives the world and media throw at you, and recognize our service people who have, and continue to provide the benefits that you have been given, simply because you are an American.
Some Facts To Share When Celebrating Memorial Day:
Fact #1 - Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day (to honor the graves of deceased soldiers). Decoration Day was initiated by General John A. Logan, Commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, after the Civil War. He called for a holiday to commemorate the more than 620,000 fallen soldiers.
Fact #2 - The first Memorial Day ceremony (still called Decoration Day at the time) at Arlington National Cemetery was given by Civil War General James A. Garfield, who later became President. It was attended by about 5,000 people (similar to what we see today).
Fact #3 - Many southern states continued to honor their fallen soldiers separately on different days until after World War I.
Fact #4 - Although the day was officially called Memorial Day in the 1880’s, it was not a legal proclamation until President Lyndon B. Johnson on May 26, 1966.
Fact #5 - Red poppies become associated with Memorial Day when Miona Michael, inspired by the poem, In Flanders Fields, responded with her own poem and conceived wearing a red poppy to honor those who died. She was recognized by the US Post Office in 1948 by issuing a US 3 cent stamp with her likeness and title as the “Founder of Memorial Poppy.”
Fact #6 – Memorial Day was originally recognized on May 30th, but was moved to the last Monday in May (1971) to ensure we have long weekends.
Fact #7 – Waterloo, NY was officially recognized by Congress as the birthplace of Memorial Day.
Fact #8 – National Moment of Remembrance – In December of 2000, Congress passed a law and President Bill Clinton signed it requiring Americans to pause at 3:00pm on Memorial Day to remember and honor our fallen soldiers.
This weekend, more than 36 million people will hit the road for the holiday and drive more than 50 miles, so be careful out there.
And while you are one of the many Americans celebrating with grilling and barbeque, don’t forget to remember those who gave so much for us and recognize their sacrifices.
~ Bill Fukui, Director of Sales & Marketing