This year, Memorial Day falls on May 26. Originally known as Decoration Day, this holiday originated in the years after the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Memorial Day honors our fallen heroes, men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.
Understanding the Difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day
Memorial Day is special for most veterans. Some people may not realize that Memorial Day isn’t about thanking veterans who are still with us. While Veterans Day is meant to thank and honor everyone who has served, Memorial Day memorializes men and women who died in battle or as of a result of wounds sustained in battle. These individuals made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
For Quantum brand ambassador Bryan Anderson, Memorial Day holds a special meaning for him. He thinks of the friends he lost in combat.
“We honor those who are no longer with us, who gave their lives so the rest of us could live freely.”– Bryan Anderson
Click here to read Bryan’s blog on what Memorial Day means to him.
The True Meaning of Memorial Day
Brand ambassador Josh McDermott comes from a family of former servicemen. His grandfather was a marine who flew over the Pacific during World War II. Josh’s father was in the Air Force. Josh also has many friends and family who have served or are actively serving in the military. Josh recognizes the significance of Memorial Day and why we remember. Yet, he is frustrated that some Americans do not recognize the importance. Some individuals see Memorial Day as a celebration and they have picnics and grill up burgers and hot dogs. Retail stores have huge Memorial Day sales. For Josh, Memorial Day is a time of remembrance and honoring those who gave their lives for our country.
“It’s a time to remember those veterans who have served and made the ultimate sacrifice, allowing us to live freely in the greatest country in the world.”– Josh McDermott
Josh’s father and other veterans that belong to a local American Legion organize their town’s Memorial Day parade and honor services. They meet at the cemetery and locate each veteran. They say his or her name and then take a small American flag and place it on the grave to honor each life that has served.
Click here to learn more about the honor services performed for veterans on Memorial Day.
What You Can Do
Veteran organizations like the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars typically organize Memorial Day parades. They also meet at local cemeteries to place flags on the graves of servicemen and women and give a gun salute. Consider volunteering your time to these organizations. You can attend a gun salute ceremony at your local cemetery or attend a Memorial Day parade. Or, you can simply reflect on the friends and family you know who served and gave the ultimate sacrifice.