For some, Memorial Day is just a day off work, a day for cookouts, and the start of summer. For Gold Star Families and friends of those lost serving our great country, it has a whole different meaning.
Memorial Day takes place every year on the last Monday of May and is a day to remember and honor those who died while serving in the US military.
In early May of 1868 General John A. Logan called for a nationwide day of remembrance. On May 30, 1868, that day of remembrance happened, and it was called Decoration Day. On that first Decoration Day General James Garfield spoke at Arlington National Cemetery saying:
“We do not know one promise these men made, only one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and make immortal their patriotism and their virtue”. James Garfield (as cited Arizona PBS, n.d.)
Observation day eventually became known as Memorial Day and continued to be celebrated on May 30 every year until 1968, when Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act which moved Memorial Day to the last Monday of May.
For Gold Star Families and Beirut Veterans, this Memorial Day is like every other day as we remember those who we so dearly loved and lost on October 23, 1983. Each of us has been impacted by that moment in time and carry that impact with us. Our First Duty is to Remember. This Memorial Day (and throughout the year) remind people about the Beirut Bombing, remind them about the lives lost, and remind them that we must never forget.
God Bless and Semper Fi!
Arizona PBS. (n.d.) The history of Memorial Day. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/national-memorial-day-concert/memorial-day/history/