Memorial Day is much more than just a three-day weekend and a chance to get the year’s first sunburn. As we reflect on those we’ve lost and those that have served us, we trust you, your family and friends will enjoy this special holiday.
On May 30, 1868, President Ulysses S. Grant presided over the first Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, where he said: “I am oppressed with a sense of the impropriety of uttering words on this occasion. If silence is ever golden, it must be beside the graves of fifteen-thousand men, whose lives were more significant than speech, and whose death was a poem the music of which can never be sung.”
A few other Memorial Day facts:
- It is customary on Memorial Day to fly the flag at half staff until noon, and then raise it to the top of the staff until sunset.
- Taps, the 24-note bugle call, is played at all military funerals and memorial services. It originated in 1862 when Union General Dan Butterfield “grew tired of the ‘lights out’ call sounded at the end of each day.”
- The World War I poem “In Flanders Fields,” by John McCrea, inspired the Memorial Day custom of wearing red artificial poppies. In 1915, a Georgia teacher and volunteer war worker named Moina Michael began a campaign to make the poppy a symbol of tribute to veterans and for “keeping the faith with all who died.” The sale of poppies has supported the work of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
- Set your alarm! In 2000, Congress established a National Moment Of Remembrance, which asks Americans to pause for one minute at 3 p.m. in an act of national unity. The time was chosen because 3 p.m. “is the time when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday.”
Hold your loved ones close and enjoy the freedom of this amazing holiday.
“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”– John. F. Kennedy