May 26, 2008 - Admin

Memorial Day – Observance and Tradition

Memorial Day or Decoration Day is a federal holiday in United States. Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May. Memorial Day 2008 is today, May 26. This day is to honor and remember U.S men and women who have died in military service to their country. It initially began to honor Soldiers who died during the American Civil War. For many, it marks the beginning of summer. Schools are often dismissed on or around Memorial Day.

This holiday, often people visit cemeteries and memorials. At 3 pm, Washington time, a National Moment of remembrance takes place. Another traditional practice on Memorial Day is to fly the National flag at half staff from dawn to the noon local time. At numerous cemeteries, the graves of Soldiers are increasingly ignored and neglected. Most people no longer commemorate the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that continue to hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Gradually, as years pass, the present generation is confused whether Memorial Day is for honoring any and all dead, not just those died in service to the country. In addition, to the traditional practices, families take time off for picnics, gatherings and sporting events.

In 1915, inspired by the poem “In Flander’s Fields”, Moina Michael replied with her own poem:

We cherish too, the Poppy red

That grows on fields where valor led,

It seems to signal to the skies

That blood of heroes never dies.

Moina Michael then conceived of an idea of wearing red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during the American Civil War. She also sold poppies to her friends and co-workers and the money went to benefit servicemen in need.

Other countries also appreciated the custom and were inspired to observe a similar Memorial Day in their own country. Madam Guerin from France visited the United States and learned of this new custom started by Ms.Moina Michael and when she returned to France, made artificial red poppies to raise funds for war-orphaned children and widowed women.

This tradition spread to other countries. In fact France and Belgium observe something similar called the Remembrance Day that marks the end of World War I. The Netherlands honor fallen soldiers and victims from World War II, but also from wars in Indonesia and other wars, on May 4th, 1 day before “Bevrijdingsdag” (Liberation Day in honor of liberation from Nazi Germany on May 5, 1945). In Ireland, National Day of Commemoration commemorates all Irish who died in past wars or in service with the United Nations.

In Israel, Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day) is observed one day prior to Independence Day. In Australia and New Zealand, April25 is observed as a remembrance of the people who died at Gallipoli during World War I.

Dorothy Smith, the author of this article wants to send information about the events & special occasions. Want to know more about Memorial Day or Memorial Day Cards. Celebrate Memorial Day by sending memorial day wishes cards and other free ecards.

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