Well the seasons are turning again and Memorial Day will be here shortly. The United States has been observing that holiday on the last Monday of May since 1971 when the “Uniform Monday Holiday Act” made several national holidays land on Mondays to give workers a three-day weekend. Before 1971 Memorial Day was always celebrated on whatever day of the week May 30th landed on.
Memorial Day or Decoration Day, an official day to remember those who died while in the service, started in 1868, a few years after the end of the Civil War. May 30th was chosen because that was the day when the flowers were at their best. John A. Logan, the Union general who established the holiday, ordered his posts to decorate soldier’s graves “with the choicest flowers of springtime.” Today, as in years past, many people observe the day by visiting cemeteries and memorials, and folks often place American flags on the grave site of every military service member.
By tradition there is an official National Moment of Remembrance when all Americans are encouraged to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation. “Moment of Remembrance” founder Carmella LaSpada said, “It’s a way we can all help put the memorial back in Memorial Day.”
In recent years, the custom has grown in many families to decorate the graves of all loved ones, not just of veterans. My clan has a tradition of gathering together and touring Lindenwood Cemetery, visiting the graves of our family members buried there. Together we stand at each grave and reminisce, telling stories of those who have gone before us. I find, especially as I get older, that commemorating my loved ones on Memorial Day becomes more important to me every year.
Another tradition I enjoy is the Waynedale Memorial Day Parade. The parade begins at 9 am at Waynedale United Methodist Church, 2501 Church Street, and proceeds down Old Trail Road to Prairie Grove Cemetery. It’s an outstanding example of how Waynedale pulls together to organize an event that is meaningful to the whole community. After all, the Waynedale Memorial Day Parade celebrates our veterans and demonstrates how much our community respects them for their service to our country.
This year I will be riding in the parade with Korean War veteran Bob Runge and his wife, Helen. My friend Bob has just returned from a day in Washington D.C. as a member of the Honor Flight of Northeast Indiana taken on May 24th from the Fort Wayne International Airport.
I wish you a safe and meaningful Memorial Day and hope to see you at the parade!
If you are a veteran there that day, please let me know so I can thank you personally for your service for our country.
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