After nearly 250 years, it may be hard for Americans to imagine a world where the United States didn’t exist and doesn’t stand for freedom. Despite the current situation between Ukraine and Russia, it’s been more than 75 years since we’ve faced a global conflict. What does all this have to do with Summertime?
For close to 50 years now, the national holiday known as Memorial Day has been considered the unofficial start of the summer season, even though the calendar lists the actual date as June 21.
Because of the graduation ceremonies and the end of the school year this is the first real opportunity to have an outdoor-oriented three day weekend, so for many Memorial Day is considered the first day of their summer.
But its true significance is far greater.
All Gave Some; Some Gave All
About three years after the Civil War ended, Maj. Gen. John A. Logan of the Union veteran group the Grand Army of the Republic, declared that May 30th should be “Decoration Day.” This would be a time when families and friends of those killed during the war could join other such people across the country, placing flowers on the fallen heroes’ graves.
Over time, and, sadly, many more wars, Americans across the country increasingly visited lost soldiers’ and sailors’ graves, decorating them with flags and flowers. In the early 1900’s, those graveyards were transformed into cemeteries by Dr. Hubert Eaton. Dr. Eaton was a Christian who wanted to remind mourners of the hope that death was merely a passage to eternal life and rest.
It became common, especially after The Great War, and then after World War II, to remember the fallen military in the morning – either at the cemetery or with community parades (often both) – and then celebrate the freedom they’d won for us in the afternoon with picnics and BBQ’s.
The Flavor of Freedom
Thankfully, fewer military men and women are killed in battle in our modern times, but we still want to honor those heroes.
P. McCree Thornton wrote in The Star Spangled Son, “For those who fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.” While the phrase is mouthed by a fictional character, it reflects the author’s own time serving in the Navy during the Vietnam War.
In 1971, the Federal government made Memorial Day an official holiday, landing on the fourth Monday of every May – this year, it’ll be May 30th.
And while some appear to have forgotten the true meaning of the holiday, as long as some remember, its legacy will live on.
We should never forget the purpose of Memorial Day – honoring the fallen heroes who protected our freedom so we could live our lives the way we do. And to remember that while Veterans’ Day celebrates all who have served or continue to serve, this day reflects those who were lost. But it’s okay to celebrate Memorial Day with fun and festivities too.
On the Gulf Coast of Florida, summer also means rain and mosquitoes. But you can protect your backyard from Florida’s unofficial state insect – or at least from their bites. Mosquitoes serve an important purpose in our ecosystem, which is why we offer our exclusive Mosquito Protection Program. It literally creates “No Bite Zones” by transforming biting mosquitoes and their offspring into vegans! For more details on our No Bite Zones, just give us a call!
We hope you have a meaningful Memorial Day, however you choose to celebrate it. For those who have lost a military friend or family member, we thank you for their service and sacrifice.
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