Memorial Day: More than Picnics and ParadesMay 22, 2009
Memorial Day signals the arrival of summer. Swimming pools open, you can officially wear white (is my age showing?), gas prices rise, and the weekend barbeques begin. In school we learned that Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service to our country. Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868, by Gen. John Logan and was widely observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The tradition moved from placing flowers to placing flags at the graves of fallen soldiers and still continues today. Women have served the United States military since the Revolutionary War; however, women were not supposed to serve in combat and still do not receive the same recognition as their male counterparts.
If you are in Washington, D.C., this weekend, you can
- witness the arrival of Rolling Thunder at high noon on Sunday,
- watch Sunday’s National Memorial Day parade down Constitution Avenue, or
- attend the PBS-sponsored National Memorial Day concert on the West Lawn of the U. S. Capitol.
Crowds will flock to the Iwo Jima, World War II, and Vietnam Veterans memorials and Arlington National Cemetery to remember those who gave their lives. Take time to visit the lesser-known memorials as well: the African American Civil War, D.C. World War I, Korean War Veterans, United States Air Force, United States Navy, and Women in Vietnam memorials. To our veterans and those in uniform today, thank you!
How will you celebrate this Memorial Day?