Take Some Time this Weekend to Remember the Fallen

funeralOn most American calendars Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer. Common celebrations include taking advantage of the long weekend to visit with friends/family and participating in barbeques (weather permitting). If not already on your agenda, the Center for Homeland Defense and Security would like to remind all Americans to take some time this weekend to reflect on the true significance of Memorial Day; whether it be attending a ceremony at a local cemetery, conversing with families who have lost loved ones, or even simply taking a moment to silently reflect on the freedom we enjoy in this country because of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Memorial Day was observed as “Decoration Day” beginning in 1868 as a day to decorate the graves of soldiers who had fought and perished in the Civil War. Decoration Day was celebrated on May 30th because flowers were in bloom all across the nation and could be laid upon graves. After World War I, the holiday was expanded to include fallen veterans of all wars, and in 1971 was declared by Congress to be a national holiday celebrated on the last Monday in May.

The Homeland Security Digital Library is proud of the military tradition it experiences aboard the Naval Postgraduate School and would like pay respects to the fallen and all of their friends and families. While thanking service members or veterans for their service is always appreciated, be cognizant that Veterans Day and Memorial Day are not synonymous, and that Memorial Day was established to honor those who are no longer with us.

For those of you in the Monterey area, this article in the Monterey Herald is a great source for Memorial Day festivities throughout Monterey County.

To learn more about the history and importance of Memorial Day, take a look at the informational resources available at the Military Officers Association of America and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.