Memorial Day is considered the unofficial start to summer, but more importantly, it’s an opportunity for each of us to take a moment to remember the great sacrifices that the men and women of the Armed Services have made to defend our way of life.
Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day started as an event to honor Union soldiers who had died during the Civil War. The day became an official federal holiday in 1971 and has been officially observed on the last Monday in May ever since.
Memorial Day sometimes gets confused with Veterans’ Day, but there is a difference. Memorial Day honors those who have died in military service while Veterans’ Day honors all who have served.
There are many ways to recognize and celebrate Memorial Day. Here are a few suggestions:
- The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for one minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the U.S. We invite you to take a moment of remembrance on Monday, May 31.
- The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) National Cemetery Administration maintains over 200 national cemeteries and soldiers monument sites across the country and many states have established state veterans cemeteries. Click here to visit the VA website where you can search for national or state cemeteries near you. Please note that there is not a VA national cemetery in every state.
- The National WWII Museum, located in New Orleans, has reopened with limited capacity (for those who are local), but you can also take a virtual tour. Click here for more information about what you can learn right from your computer screen.
- The NationalVeterans Memorial and Museum will hold a Gold Star Candlelight Vigil on the evening of Friday, May 28. Scheduled to begin shortly after sunset, participants will gather on the museum rooftop and proceed to the Memorial grove. Speakers at the ceremony will include President Biden and Lt. General Michael Ferriter, U.S. Army (retired), as well as Gold Star family members. The event can be viewed virtually through Facebook and YouTube. Click here to learn more. A Gold Star family is one that has had an immediate family member die as a result of military service. You can learn more about the honor and sacrifice of a Gold Star family by clicking here.
On behalf of the VALOR BRG, thank you for taking the time to read about Memorial Day and honor those who have served and sacrifice. Have a safe and happy Memorial Day Weekend!