[Tallahassee, FL] Today is Memorial Day. But what does it mean beyond “support the troops” and “remember those who died fighting for our freedom”?
Memorial Day – a federal holiday – got its start after the American Civil War. It was originally called Decoration Day and was intended to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War. The graves of Confederate soldiers were also decorated.
By the 20th century, Memorial Day had grown to become an all-encompassing holiday to honor and remember the men and women who died while serving their country in the United States Armed Forces. Many people visit cemeteries and attend memorials at national cemeteries.
Memorial Day also typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, with Labor Day marking the end.
Our leaders release official statements in observance of the holiday. While this ritual can seem a bit canned and even viewed as using the office as a platform for political gain, we’ll give our elected officials the benefit of the doubt.
Here is what they had to say:
VIDEO MESSAGE FROM PRESIDENT OBAMA:
Gov. Rick Scott
“This weekend Floridians throughout our state will remember the men and women of the United States Armed Forces who have lost their lives while serving our country throughout our nation’s history.
As we come together with family and friends to honor our fallen military and veterans, let us also bring to mind the tremendous sacrifice they have made for our benefit.
Those who serve in the Armed Forces risk their lives to preserve our national independence and the unmatched freedom we enjoy as United States citizens. Our military defends our own democracy, as well as assists emerging democratic societies around the globe.
These opportunities for freedom are made possible only through the selfless sacrifice of our military.
To those currently serving in the Armed Forces and the Florida National Guard, Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll, Ann and I want to express our appreciation for your bravery and willingness to spend time away from your family and loved ones.
Know that we are praying for your safety and for your families here at home to receive the strength and support they need.”
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi
“As we spend this Memorial Day weekend enjoying time with family and friends, let us not forget that Memorial Day is about remembering and honoring the courageous men and women who sacrificed their lives so that we could enjoy our freedom.
While we enjoy this long holiday weekend, join me in taking time to remember those who dedicated their lives to military service and who died to keep our nation the greatest in the world.
If you see a man or woman in uniform, be sure to thank them for all that they do to protect us and our liberty.”
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio
“With American service members currently deployed all over the world, it is important that we take the time both as a nation and personally, to reflect on the sacrifices that our military men and women make on a regular basis, and have been making since our founding.
America has been blessed with many riches, vast lands and precious resources, but our greatest blessing has been the bravery of our men and women who have served in uniform and defended the freedoms we hold dear.
Our country is truly a safer, stronger and more prosperous nation because of their sacrifices. And the world is a safer place because of them.”
CFO Jeff Atwater
“Memorial Day, unfortunately, has become more about retail and parties than understanding the importance of remembrance and the solemn celebration it should be in our lives.
We may not think about the Civil War when we think about Memorial Day, although it would make perfect sense to do so.
The history of Memorial Day and how we honor our fallen heroes is rooted in a day from the Civil War called Decoration Day. In the late 1860s, northern Civil War veterans led by Gen. John A. Logan called for a day of remembrance:
‘The 30th of May is designated for the purpose … decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country … and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land …’
As you come together with family and friends, remember those who gave their lives throughout our history so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have today. Remember the families missing a mother, father, sister, brother or friend, and wave your flag for them.
Decorate your home in the colors of our flag, and keep our fallen heroes and their families in your thoughts and prayers so the ideals and principles that America’s soldiers fight and die for are never forgotten.”
By: Adam Rousso/Sunshine Slate
Lead image: Just Add Light