Before we reflect on the history and meaning of Memorial Day, let us take time to remember all those who have died due to the pandemic that has swept our country. Without the leadership, courage, dedication and sacrifices of many the number of deaths would have been far greater.
The custom of honoring those who have fallen in battle by cleaning and decorating graves is an ancient and worldwide tradition. It was originally called “Decoration Day”.
In early rural America, this duty was usually done in late summer and became an occasion for family reunions. After the “Civil War”, the practice became more prominent as America’s need for a patriotic ceremony to honor its military dead. After “WW I”, the day was expanded to honor those who had died in all American Wars. The tradition of wearing red Poppies as a symbol of this day was actually the idea of an American, Miss Moina Michael, who became known as the “Poppy Lady”.
The holiday, which is now observed on the last Monday of May, was originally observed on May 30th. It is considered the unofficial start of Summer. One of the longest standing traditions is the running of “The Indianapolis 500”, which has been held in conjunction with Memorial Day since 1911. Due to the pandemic, it is now scheduled to be run August 23, 2020.
The preferred name for the holiday gradually changed from “Decoration Day” to “Memorial Day”, first used in 1882. However, it only became the most common name after “WW II” and was not declared a Federal Holiday until 1967. While the passing of an act in 1968 created 3 day weekends for Memorial Day and other holidays, it has also no doubt contributed to a general nonchalant observance by some people for this important day.
We at Bane-Clene® do not take that nonchalant attitude. We realize that our great country is just that because of the dedication and countless sacrifices of the men and women who have fought and died to keep us,
The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.
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The Bane-Clene® Team.
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