Memorial Day is just around the corner, ladies and gentlemen. Red, white and blue is around every corner and businesses everywhere are getting their sales ready. But I always wonder how many people having BBQs and buying things 1598390589% off really know the reason for the holiday. There are numerous patriotic holidays and each one is intended to honor a unique group of individuals.
Memorial Day is the last Monday of May and honors Americans who have died while serving in the armed forces. It stems from the process of decorating the graves of Civil War soldiers and was formerly called “Decoration Day”. The name wasn’t changed to “Memorial Day” until 1967.
Armed Forces Day
On the third Saturday of May, the nation celebrates all members of the armed services. This holiday was established in 1949 and replaced separate days honoring each branch of the military.
4th of July
The 4th of July honors the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It doesn’t actually have a direct tie to a specific group in the military, although many people associate it with our armed forces.
Originally created to celebrate the end of WWI, Veterans Day is celebrated on November 11 each year. In 1954, the holiday was shifted to honor military veterans, thanks to the leadership of WWII veteran Raymond Weeks.
When to say thank you
There seem to be two schools of thought when it comes to thanking people on patriotic holidays. On one hand, we have folks who believe in very strict interpretations of each holiday. For example, Memorial Day should only be reserved for those who made the ultimate sacrifice and Veterans Day should just be for individuals who have left the military.
On the other hand, there are individuals who believe a thank you should be given whenever possible. I will freely admit that I land in this category. I would much rather someone thank my husband for his service on Veterans Day (even though he’s still active duty) than have them not acknowledge it at all.
Each of the patriotic holidays is set to honor a unique group of the military and remembering the meaning behind each day is important. Too often it gets lost in the fun festivities or all lumped together. During this year’s patriotic holidays, take a moment to pause and reflect on the true meaning of the day.
What do you think: is it appropriate to thank a member of the military on any patriotic holiday or should people stick to the intention of each day?