Memorial Day Remembers Those Who Gave All    

  By: Katie Petrick
   Published : May 25, 2018

Summer is just around the corner and this weekend marks the kickoff, with millions packing up their vehicles or boarding airplanes. American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates nearly 42 million people will go somewhere to celebrate, with Orlando as the top destination.

But in between your servings of hot dogs and hamburgers take a moment to remember the purpose of Memorial Day. Take time to remember those who gave their all for American freedoms.

Memorial Day is the country’s most solemn holiday. The nation had been ripped apart during the Civil War with more than 600,000 lives lost. In 1866, with a country in mourning, Memorial Day was born in Waterloo, New York. Everyday people decided to place flags and flowers on the graves of those who died in battle. Just two years later, Decoration Day became a national holiday, which included putting flowers and ribbons on the 20,000 graves at Arlington National Cemetery.

And now, every year you will find members of the military, young and old, performing ceremonies at local cemeteries to memorialize those who have passed and are buried there. The names of the dead will be read, Taps will be played, and 21-gun salutes will be fired.

In Washington, D.C., it is tradition for the president of the United States, along with the vice president, to attend a memorial service at Arlington National Cemetery. The president will deliver remarks to those in attendance as he looks out on the graves of the more than 400,000 soldiers who lie in rest at Arlington. Last year President Trump provided remarks near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a monument which is dedicated to all unidentified soldiers who died overseas.

“We can never replace them. We can never repay them,” Trump said. “But we can always remember. And today, that is what we are doing — we remember.”

The tomb has been guarded since 1926 and has held nonstop watch since 1937, meaning soldiers have protected the tomb in all Washington, D.C. weather conditions for more than 80 years. Only the most elite soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment “The Old Guard” will become Tomb Guards. The Old Guard is actually the oldest active infantry unit in the U.S. military.

This year at the National Mall, a temporary display built by the United Services Automobile Association (USAA) will honor the 645,000 service members lost since World War I. With one poppy representing one member lost, The Poppy Memorial will stretch 133 feet near the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

It will not be a happy Memorial Day, because that is not the intention of the day. Rather, consider those who were lost in service, honor their contributions, and thank those families who lost their family members so that all Americans live free.

This Memorial Day remember that all gave some, but some gave all.

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