I come from a family with a rich Military legacy. However,I always thought that Memorial Day was to honor ALL of our family who had died. I thought it was on Veterans Day that we honored and remembered all those who served in the Military, living and dead. So I did what I seemed to do now when I have a question… I went online and “Goggled” it so I could learn what the answers are. Here is what I found online to answer my question.
There is a distinct difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. This is the difference between the two days according to the VA website.
“Many people confuse Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle.”
While those who died are also remembered, Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor all those who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime. In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served, not only those who died, have sacrificed and done their duty.
To ensure the sacrifices of America’s fallen are never forgotten, in December 2000, the U.S. Congress passed and the president signed into law “The National Moment of Remembrance Act,”. The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans 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. As Moment of Remembrance founder Carmella LaSpada stated: “It’s a way we can all help put the memorial back in Memorial Day.”
So, as I made the rounds through ten different cemeteries this year placing flowers on all my family members graves, I asked myself, why do we put flowers on all our family members’ graves during Memorial Day, and not just our Military family members? After all, unless our family members died in service to our country, Memorial Day is not about them. While it is always appropriate to honor our loved ones, and remember them and even visit their final resting places, this is not the point of Memorial Day.
SO, after some careful thought here is the reason why I feel that my family places flowers on ALL our family graves. We are carrying on the “Traditions of Our Fathers”. It’s not to take away from honoring our Military ancestors and the sacrifices they made in serving our country, but rather to extend our honoring to all our family members, whether they served in the military or civilian life, the family legacy we enjoy now is because of each ancestors mark in life for the time period they lived.
I say “Thank-You” to all my ancestors for allowing things to unfold the way they did in their lives that allows me to enjoy the many blessing I have in my life, and that gives me a wonderful family legacy to pass on to my children and grandchildren.
But, to stay in line with the “Traditional Meaning of Memorial Day”, I want to focus the rest of my May 2014 blogs on my Military ancestors and tell some of their stories. I hope some of the rest of you will also share some of your family Military ancestor stories too.
I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable Memorial Weekend 2014.