Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day. The head of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans, established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of those who lost their lives in the American Civil War, not with flags but flowers. By the 1900s it had become a day to celebrate all American soldiers who died while serving in the military. In 1967, it was legally named Memorial Day and later became a federal holiday in 1971. Many American families and communities observe this day of recognition in a number of ways.
Memorial Day is widely known across the country for parades. Fittingly, the largest occurring parade is in our nation’s capital. The oldest Memorial Day parade is a tie between Gettysburg and Brooklyn, at 150 years running. As far as diversity is concerned New York City takes the cake with a parade in all 5 boroughs. Although not the largest in the country Rockville, Maryland will be grandstanding with a production that will feature more than 60 parade units and more than 20,000 spectators. But let’s hear it for hometown pride because Ohio shows up on a national ranking with more Memorial Day parades than any other state! That’s right, the heart of it all has at least 30 parades, just in the northeast region. Ranging from parades paired with pancake breakfasts to carnival rides, the festivities are varied, intimate and reflective of their local communities.
When Memorial Day became a federal holiday it turned into a 3 day weekend Americans can use to not only observe our fallen heroes but also enjoy the country they gave their lives to.
Memorial Day weekend is when public pools open, ice cream trucks take route and stores have sales on all the stuff needed to kick off summer. Families and friends have cookouts and go camping, towns invite their citizens out to participate in 5k’s and attend car shows. Some people take advantage of the weather to enjoy our great outdoors canoeing, and others stay in the cool air conditioning doing absolutely nothing.
Have a parade! Have a vacation! Have freedom of speech, religion and the right to peaceably assemble. Have all of the blessings that come with being an American because of the men and women who gave their lives serving our country. Here at meggalife.com, we know we owe them more than we could ever repay. The sacrifices they made goes beyond any recognition we could give. We thank our fallen heroes as we bring attention to the heart of Memorial Day. So whether you are cheering in a parade, cooking out with the family, or just taking advantage of the long weekend, lets us all remember, “that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” –Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address.