Memorial day is more than just a day off from work or school

Connor Vosbein

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     Many Americans enjoy and celebrate a holiday known as Memorial Day. Many spend this day with their friends and family. Memorial Day is a day of remembrance: the day for remembering all the soldiers that were unable to return home and who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. They may be gone but will never be forgotten.

     Although many people see this day as an extra day off from work or a three day weekend to kick off the summer this is not the true meaning of the holiday.  Memorial day is by far one of the most meaningful holidays during the year, and even if one hasn’t lost a family member or friend who died while serving in the armed forces,  it is important for everyone to honor all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the United States of America.

     Government buildings such as post offices, town halls and schools will be closed to properly honor the fallen. Retail stores will remain open and often hold many sales on many barbecue items. All the sales mixed with perfect summer weather can make it very easy for people to forget the history of this great holiday.

     Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day and it originated in the years following the Civil War. It was called Decoration Day because the date it took place on did not fall on any anniversary of any battle. On the first Decoration Day in 1868 five thousand war widows and orphans went to the Arlington National Cemetery and began decorating all the twenty thousand graves of both confederate and union soldiers with ribbons, wreaths, bells and flags. As Decoration day grew, celebrations were held in massive civil war battle fields such as Gettysburg Pennsylvania.

     Decoration Day was always celebrated on May 30 until the year 1968 when the U.S. Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees. The change went into effect in 1971. This same law also declared Memorial Day as a national holiday. The date of Memorial Day this year will be May 27, 2019.