Decoration Day vs. Memorial Day

All my life I remember Memorial Day being called Decoration Day.

I would go with my grandmother to clean and decorate all the graves of our family members that have left us and proudly served our wonderful country.

I never hear anyone say Decoration Day anymore. I never hear folks going to the Cemetery.

Traditional observance of Memorial Day has faded over the years. Many Americans have forgotten its meaning and traditions. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored and neglected. Most people no longer remember to fly the flag at half-staff for the day.

While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, not just those fallen in service to our country.

Did you know that Ironton Ohio still has the longest running Memorial Day parade celebration in the country? I have gone every year because I still honor the brave and believe in the value of tradition.

What I would like to know is what has happened to our country in regards to this day. I am tired of hearing people state it’s the official start of summer vacations and hoping the gas prices don’t sky-rocket.

While I do believe that its’ a time for families to get together and reflect I don’t agree it should be all about free for all three-day vacation and backyard barbeques.

Many feel when Congress made the day into a three-day weekend with the National Holiday Act of 1971, it made it easier for people to be distracted from the spirit of the meaning of the day. I know I agree with that statement wholeheartedly.

What I do hope is that this year when you are off from work and with your families that you head over to your local cemetery, spend some time, lend a hand, and honor those before us as they more than deserve our respect.

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