“America, we marched with pride. We gave our life, for you we died.” Roger J. Robicheau
Do you celebrate Memorial Day at your Virginia Beach home? Or, to be more specific, do you acknowledge the real purpose of the holiday and participate in activities designed to commemorate those who died for our country? If your answer is “No,” you are among the majority of US citizens, for the celebration of this day has strayed far from its original intent and has become an opportunity to enjoy a three-day weekend which ushers in summer.
Memorial Day started as an event to honor Union soldiers who had died during the American Civil War and was inspired by the way people in the Southern states honored their dead. After World War I it was extended to include all men and women who died in any war or military action.
Originally known as Decoration Day, the current name for this day did not come into use until after World War II, and it was celebrated on May 30, regardless of the day of the week on which it fell. In 1968 the Uniform Holidays Bill was passed as part of a move to use federal holidays to create three-day weekends. This meant that that from 1971, Memorial Day holiday has been officially observed on the last Monday in May.
Memorial Day is observed throughout the United States with many special ceremonies, parades, concerts, festivals, patriotic performances, and more. Wreaths are placed at soldiers’ tombs, and soldiers of the 3rd US Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) place an American flag at each of the more than 220,000 graves at Arlington National Cemetery.
How can you observe Memorial Day at your Virginia Beach home? Regardless of where you do your celebrating, you can include red, white, and blue decorations in the form of streamers, balloons, stars, or paper goods. You can also proudly display an American flag or hang a patriotic wreath on your door.
Help your children have holiday fun while learning about our nation’s history and military sacrifice by involving them in many themed crafts and activities. The Holiday Zone.com provides a wide variety of free printable puzzles, coloring pages, crossword puzzles, and the like to keep young ones entertained in your Virginia Beach home or at the picnic grounds. For crafts for the kids, click here.
Check your local paper or online for activities scheduled for your area—and perhaps say a silent “thanks” to those who have died and those who are currently in harm’s way sometime during the day.