At 3:00 pm local time on Memorial Day, May 31, 2021, a national moment of remembrance will take place. Memorial Day is an American federal holiday since 1971 observed annually on the last Monday in May. It is intended to honor and mourn those who died while serving in the armed services. It is very different from Veterans Day which is observed November 11 each year to recognize all those who have served living and dead. On Memorial Day, do not wish anyone, “Happy Memorial Day” which is not founded in joy with the promise of happiness at Christmas but a day of tradition to recognize and honor those who paid the ultimate price while on duty in the armed services.
Memorial Day began in Waterloo, New York as Decoration Day, an event to honor Union soldiers who died during the Civil War. The Civil War ended in 1865 and by the late 1860s towns and cities had begun holding tributes to those fallen soldiers decorating their grave with flags, flowers and reciting prayers. Today, we honor our fallen by visiting cemeteries and memorials, attending parades and family gatherings and the wearing of the red poppy. A tradition that began with a World War 1 poem in remembrance of those fallen in war.
The military is built on tradition, customs and manners. These are the keys to lasting relationships in the armed service. Customs are regular expected actions to maintain orders and enforce military discipline while traditions are long established beliefs that have been passed on from generation to generation. They both give a sense of continuity upholding morale and instilling pride.