What comes to mind when you think of Memorial Day? Maybe you think of it as the unofficial start to summer. It is the weekend for camping, boating, and cookouts with families and friends. One Pole conducted a recent survey on behalf of the University of Phoenix posing a similar question. Sadly, less than half of Americans surveyed realized that Memorial Day is a holiday to honor those who have lost their lives in service to our country.
A little confusion
Of the 2000 Americans surveyed, 28% confused Memorial day with Veterans Day. They believed Memorial Day was a day to honor all of those who have served or are currently serving in the military. Moreover, 36% of respondents revealed that they did not know the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day.
The survey showed only 43% of those surveyed understood the true Meaning of Memorial Day. 83% of those who were surveyed believe that it is very important to do something to commemorate the day and the ones it honors. That response reveals a tremendous amount of people who want to do good!
How can we do good on Memorial Day?
There are many ways and opportunities that we can do good and honor our fallen veterans. Perhaps first, as this survey revealed, we should learn about Memorial Day. It was first celebrated on May 30, 1868 at Arlington National Cemetery. Honoring all brave servicemen who had lost their lives in combat it was first called Decoration Day. To this day the national remembrance of this day is celebrated at Arlington National Cemetery. A wreath is placed at the tomb of the unknown soldier and small flags are placed on every grave.
Do good to honor those in your community
Next, we can do good on Memorial Day by honoring the fallen veterans in our communities. Many communities commemorate Memorial Day with a service in a Veterans park or cemetery.
We can do good by attending the services. We can follow in the tradition of Arlington National Cemetery and place small flags at the graves of our Veterans.
Perchance, the best way we can do good to honor our those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms is by honoring their living family members. The title ‘Gold Star Family’ is given to the family of military members who have died in the line of duty. While this is a title no family wants to receive, it is “meant to honor the service member’s ultimate sacrifice while acknowledging their family’s loss, grief and continued healing.”
To honor our Gold Star families we can acknowledge them. Simply, we can think of them, thank them, and pray for them. We can reach out to them with a card or simple act of kindness. Acknowledging the bravery and sacrifice of their lost family member helps to continue their legacy and show our gratitude
National Moment of Rememberance
This leads us to another way to do good on Memorial Day. We can participate in the National Moment of Remembrance. The moment of silence occurs at 3:00 pm each Memorial Day. Americans are encouraged to pause for one minute of silence and reflection to honor the memory of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for us. This year, in light of the Covid 19 pandemic and social distancing requirements there has also been a movement to ask Americans to step onto their porches during this minute of silence.
So let’s ask the question again, “what does Memorial Day mean to you”? More importantly, how are you going to do good today to commemorate it’s true meaning? No matter what your answer is remember this, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13