Memo­rial Day gives time to re­mem­ber

Serve Daily - - EMPOWERING LIBERTY - By Karen Wil­loughby

On av­er­age, two U.S. mil­i­tary per­son­nel die each day in Mid­dle East­ern con­flicts and have since Desert Storm started in Au­gust 1990, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. Depart­ment of Vet­eran Af­fairs.

That’s two fam­i­lies who have to deal with the loss, mul­ti­ples of chil­dren in many cases, plus par­ents, friends and the world, which won’t get to see the dif­fer­ence these young men and women would have made if they had lived.

While “two” makes the num­ber per­sonal, a re­port re­leased by the U.S. Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs in 2007 said nearly 74,000 Amer­i­cans were killed dur­ing Gulf War ac­tions be­tween 1990 and 2007.

But some would say two is bet­ter than the 297 Amer­i­cans who died each day dur­ing World War II, ac­cord­ing to VA sta­tis­tics.

Memo­rial Day hon­ors the more than 41.5 mil­lion men and women who have died in bat­tle since the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion. Each gave his or her life in ser­vice to their coun­try.

“Dec­o­ra­tion Day” was first ob­served in April 1866, ac­cord­ing to the VA, by Con­fed­er­ate women dec­o­rat­ing the graves of those from both the South and North who died in the Bat­tle of Shiloh dur­ing the Civil War.

By the end of the 19th cen­tury, May 30 was the agreed-upon date to honor those killed fight­ing in the Civil War – 420 a day count­ing both the Union and the Con­fed­er­acy – per­haps be­cause on that date across the na­tion, flow­ers usu­ally were bloom­ing each year.

It was not un­til af­ter World War I, how­ever, that the day was ex­panded to honor those who have died in all Amer­i­can wars. In 1971, Memo­rial Day was de­clared a na­tional hol­i­day by an act of Congress.

In De­cem­ber 2000, the U.S. Congress passed and the pres­i­dent signed into law the Na­tional Mo­ment of Re­mem­brance Act, which 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.

While Memo­rial Day is not said to be a day to re­mem­ber fam­ily or friends who have died, many peo­ple choose to do so. Af­ter all, there is not an­other day set aside for the prac­tice, and how much bet­ter to re­mem­ber ev­ery­one on one day.

“I used to hate July 4,” said Mandy Cox of Springville. “That’s the day my grandma died. In 1997! But maybe five years ago some­one said to just re­mem­ber her on Memo­rial Day.

“Now I can re­mem­ber her then and feel like it’s okay to have fun again on the 4th of July, and on Memo­rial Day too, for that mat­ter,” Cox con­tin­ued. “It’s like now I can cel­e­brate all the good times we had in­stead of be­ing re­minded that she died.”

Some, how­ever, want the day to stay spe­cific to re­mem­ber­ing those who were killed in bat­tle, re­mem­ber­ing the cost of the free­doms we en­joy as Amer­i­cans.

“I lost bud­dies in Viet­nam,” said one gray-bearded man lean­ing against a fence at a re­cent event in Span­ish Fork. “I don’t want to for­get them.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.