What Does Memorial Day Mean to You?

  • Published
  • By Maj. Dawn Baker
  • 21st Logistics Readiness Squadron
It’s safe to say that when people think of Memorial Day, they feel many different emotions.

Some people see it as a three-day weekend where barbequing and camping are the norm. Some have lost loved ones during battle and will forever remember the day as a time to reflect on their loved ones ultimate sacrifice. There are even some that don’t really understand the true meaning behind the holiday at all.

This article is to provide a little history regarding the holiday and to help explain why so many people will forever be affected by its true meaning.

Memorial Day was established in 1868 after the American Civil War and was originally called Decoration Day. It was established as a time for the nation to decorate the graves from the civil war with flowers.
However, the northern and southern states had separate holiday traditions honoring the fallen up until World War I. The United States Government eventually merged these holidays into one to become Memorial Day, a day to honor all Americans who have died while serving their country.

To date, approximately 1.3 million Americans have lost their lives in battle. These Airmen, Soldiers, Seamen, Coast Guard and Marines gave their lives for the freedom of their country, “our country” and its citizens.

Sometimes well intentioned citizens say “Happy Memorial Day” or “Enjoy your three-day weekend” not knowing that a phrase like this stirs up emotions in those that have served, lost a loved one, or been affected directly by war.

Some of these war survivors whether they be family, friends, or a military member themselves are forever changed by what they have experienced and those they have lost. Some will become staunch military supporters, others will become war activists but all of them are forever changed.

To them, Memorial Day will never be a holiday that is celebrated, it will be a holiday where their loved ones will be remembered. This is not to say that barbeques and family are not a great way to spend the weekend, however, we must all remember the sacrifices of others.
Memorial Day is to celebrate the freedoms that these sons, daughters, mothers, aunts, uncles, friends, and fathers died to defend.
May the sacrifices they made never be forgotten.

I would urge all to take a pause this upcoming Memorial Day to truly remember the men and women that have given their all in defense of this great nation.

I for one understand the sacrifices that they and their families have made. I will always defend this country and am willing to give my life in its defense…why? So that we and generations to come may continue to enjoy the freedoms and liberties that so many have fought for.