Memorial Day is a time-honored American holiday that is observed on the last Monday of May. It is a day that honors the men and women who have died while serving in the United States armed forces. This day was originally called “Decoration Day” and was established in 1868 to be observed on May 30. Though originally created to memorialize those killed in the Civil War, Decoration Day was expanded after World War I to include service members killed in all American wars. Then in 1968, the US Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May.
The observance of Memorial Day began in both the north and the south shortly after the end of the Civil War. Families & service members from both sides placed flowers upon the graves of their fallen soldiers, speeches were given, and songs were sung. By the end of the 19th century, observances were being held throughout the nation. Today, Memorial Day includes many traditions, such as parades, placing American flags upon grave sites at National Cemeteries, and memorial services. These celebrations or tributes often incorporate current military personnel and members of veterans groups across the country. Memorial Day also marks the unofficial beginning of summer for many Americans, so barbecues, picnics, and all kinds of other outdoor celebrations have become popular.
At Austin Humanists at Work, we will be celebrating this Memorial Day with our families & friends. While we remember those who have fallen in battle, we also recognize those who have served that still walk among us in our community. We see a number of homeless veterans that come to our giveaways for basic living items. We are incredibly thankful for their sacrifices & contributions to our nation, and we are proud to be able to provide assistance to these men & women.
Thank you for your service. May you never be overlooked or forgotten, in life or death.