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Posted by Hannah on May 23, 2018
On Memorial Day we honor and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving the country. This day originated as ‘Decoration Day’ to honor those lost while fighting in the Civil War- but after World War I, it became a day to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars. Memorial Day became a federal holiday in 1971.
Observed on Monday May 28, this day also marks the first unofficial day of summer vacation. Today, this day is celebrated by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. It is also spent with family at the beach or pool, enjoying barbecues and picnics.
In 1968 the official day of Memorial Day was changed to the last Monday in May to create a convenient 3-day weekend, prompting questions about the contrast of a solemn and somber day, paired with a lighthearted day of fun.
While this is certainly plausible, we must understand that life is never one-dimensional; we experience a mix of emotions almost all the time. A celebration of new life may conjure up worries about the future, a funeral may be filled with happy memories of a life well-lived. As human beings, we need to be flexible and willing to move with life and adapt to the reality around us. If we are stagnant and stuck in any place for too long, we miss out on the next moment.
Memorial Day is certainly a day of introspection and remembrance -- we must acknowledge the pain of loss. However, the pain must be tempered lest we neglect to recognize the blessings in our midst. A day like this can inspire us to live with more passion, love harder, connect more deeply, and make life more beautiful than before.
And so, a day spent remembering our loved ones who have passed, and also laughing and connecting with our friends and family is the ultimate celebration of life and victory.