A Few Things to Remember This Memorial Day Weekend
Memorial Day is coming up soon. Typically Memorial Day is a day spent partying with friends and kicks off the summer season here at the Jersey Shore. But we wanted to give a friendly reminder that it isn’t just another long weekend. Memorial Day is a day set aside to honor and remember the brave men and women who died while serving their country. These soldiers paid the ultimate sacrifice while protecting our freedoms. It is a national holiday that has its roots from 1868. It was known as Decorations Day and it started three years after the Civil War. Graves of the fallen soldiers were decorated with flowers and it is believed that the end of May was chosen because most flowers would be in bloom. After the first World War, the name changed to Memorial Day to honor those lost in all US wars.
While we can have fun on Memorial Day, let’s not forget why we have the day off. This week’s blog will go over a few ways to pay your respects to our fallen soldiers this Memorial Day.
Moment of silence: This tradition is one of the most respectful ways to honor the lives that were lost during war. Every Memorial Day at 3 p.m. local time, individuals participate in a 60 second moment of silence. It is a time to bow your head and take a moment to honor all of the brave lives that have been lost while serving their country. While there is not necessarily a particular place that this moment of silence is performed, people can practice this anywhere. This Memorial Day, regardless of your whereabouts, take the time to participate in the moment of silence at 3pm.
Know your flag etiquette: The protocol for waving the flag is different on Memorial Day. At sunrise, the flag is briskly raised to full staff and then slowly lowered to half staff where it stays until noon. At noon it is quickly raised to full staff where it stays until sunset. At sunset it is slowly lowered. This flag representation is symbolic to not only our fallen soldiers, but our living veterans as well. The flag at half staff honors the soldiers who died in battles and at full staff is a salute to our living veterans.
Don’t confuse it with Veterans Day: It is common to confuse these two national holidays, yet they are very different. As stated earlier, Memorial Day honors the lives lost while serving their country. It is not a happy day for the families that have lost their loved ones. In fact, it is a somber day so saying “Happy Memorial Day” is not in good taste, especially if it is to someone who has lost a soldier. Veteran’s Day is the day to honor and thank all veterans who served in wars. The best way to honor these Veterans is to thank them for their service.
Memorial Day Parades: Think about attending a Memorial Day parade to salute and show your gratitude to the brave men and women who have died in war. Most parades are returning live this year and with the weather warmer up, it is the perfect way to spend the day with your loved ones. Check your local community for details. Or plan a weekend road trip to Washington, DC for the National Memorial Day Parade.
Show your pride: Get your Red, White and Blue on this Memorial Day! There truly is no better
country then the USA. Our founding fathers wrote the constitution to protect its citizens by giving us constitutional rights. Plus, they made every state separate and distinct so if we don’t like the laws in one state, we have the freedom to move to another. Show your gratitude for your freedoms to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice by proudly hanging your American flag. Just remember to keep an eye on the time to make sure it’s hung properly.
Visit a nearby veteran’s cemetery: Over time, the upkeep on these graves become the responsibility of your local veterans group. Help them by dropping off some fresh flowers for the graves or spend some time cleaning up graves. It is humbling being in the presence of veterans’ graves as it is a reminder that freedom isn’t free.
Donate to your local Veterans Service Bureau: There are many organizations and ways to donate. It doesn’t always have to be financial— it could be your time as well. Here in Ocean County, the Veterans Service Bureau is located at 1027 Hooper Ave in Toms River. Any size contribution helps! They focus primarily on providing services to widows, families of veterans, and local veterans.
Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them.” We will never forget your service and we send our deepest gratitude to our fallen soldiers for their ultimate sacrifice.