Today is Memorial Day.
Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day. It originated after the American Civil War to commemorate both the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War.
I find Memorial Day to be a little confusing. It’s a mix of solemnity and picnics. Of remembering those who fought for our country and launching the summer. Of parades and parties. I’m never quite sure how to reconcile the differences of the day.
By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in the military service.
To the best of my knowledge we are not related to anyone who died fighting. I think this makes us blessed and very fortunate. But it does not make us any less responsible for remembering those who died—and thinking about those families who have lost one or more in service to our country.
Memorial Day became an official federal holiday in 1971.
Assuming the weather holds, we’ll go to the Memorial Day parade in the morning. Maybe somewhere in the mix of politicians and veterans, bands and civic groups, we can piece together the real meaning of the day.