To many Americans, Memorial Day has lost its meaning

Posted May 30, 2017

So while many of us will be celebrating this long Memorial Day weekend and some of the calling the unofficial start of the summer.

Let us refresh your memory by calling your attention to a sobering number: 1.1 million.

The Gary Cottington Quartet sang patriotic songs, and at the end of the ceremony, the VFW and American Legion saluted those who died in battle and all deceased veterans of past wars with a three-volley salute and the playing of taps.

It is the most solemn of American holidays, a commemoration of those who have died in service of our nation. It's about sacrifice. It's about recognizing that there's something bigger than oneself in this petty world.

Memorial Day hasn't always had that title.

Across the country, humble tributes occurred on that first Decoration Day. But they, too, cringe when they hear: "Happy Memorial Day".

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Forty-two years ago, on April 30, 1975, the Vietnam War ended with the fall of Saigon.

A crowd of veterans and those involved in organizations that honor veterans gathered for the Memorial Day ceremony at the cemetery, where Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight proclaimed May 29, 2017 as Memorial Day in Kokomo.

Some may even visit the graves of family members, or even decorate the graves of strangers if they choose.

Some of the veterans' headstones date back to the Civil War and the Spanish American War. Look at this statistic in another way: More than half of all of America's war dead perished in the Civil War.

In proclaiming that first Decoration Day in 1868, Gen. John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, wrote that we should not only remember those, "who died in defense of their country", but to also "renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us". "If other eyes grow tiresome and other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain in us".

"We should reflect on all of our veterans, alive and passed", said Marquis. Our eyes are not yet boring, our hands not yet slack. The National Moment of Remembrance established by Congress in 2000 sets aside a moment for all Americans, wherever they are at 3:00pm local time on Memorial Day, to pause in an act of national unity. "We need to get together and be reminded what everyone has contributed to make this a great and free country".