“Top Five Memorial Day Historical Facts”
Ty J. Young Editorial
While we enjoy the day off from work with BBQs and beach trips, it is important to remember the reasons we celebrate Memorial Day. It represents a day of remembrance for all of the fallen soldiers who gave their lives to protect this great and mighty nation.
While markets and your money remain the focus of our business throughout the year, we should remember there may not be any markets, nor any money, and therefore no retirement, without the ultimate sacrifice of brave and patriotic young men and women serving our country over the past two centuries.
Memorial Day was first recognized during the Civil War, as widows in Boalsburg, PA laid wreaths on the graves of their husbands and members of their community. It received official recognition by General John A. Logan, commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, who issued his General Order #11 on May 5, 1868, asking for a day of remembrance “… for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion.” The orders expressed hope that the observance would be “kept up from year to year while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades.”
Below is a countdown of our top 5 historical facts to remember when celebrating this Memorial Day!
5. Rolling Thunder biker gangs head to nation’s Capital. Biker groups first rallied on Memorial Day in Washington, D.C. back in 1988, to draw attention to the plight of Vietnam veterans and those left behind during the war. The first group consisted of 2,500 bikers. Today, the numbers have swelled to over 300,000, and it has become an annual event. The group is aptly named for the B-52 bombing campaign during the war also known as “Rolling Thunder.”
4. It was first known as “Decoration Day.” Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day because of the practice of “… decorating graves with flowers, wreaths, and flags.” Although the common name did become Memorial Day, it was not officially designated by the government until 1967.
3. We remember our fallen in All-American fashion. From the Indy 500 to parades in small towns across America to the good old fashioned backyard BBQ, Americans celebrate Memorial Day like only Americans can! While a solemn and important holiday to remember, because of those who have been lost in battle, it is a day we can also celebrate the freedoms bought and paid for by the American military.
2. Flags fly at half-staff until noon. Tradition mandates that flags are only flown at half-staff until 12 p.m. on Memorial Day. Then they are pulled back up to the top of the staff until sunset.
1. At 3 p.m. all Americans are to pause for a moment of silence. In 2000, Congress passed a law entitled “The National Moment of Remembrance.” All Americans are asked to stop at 3 p.m. on Memorial Day and observe a moment of silence as an act of national unity.
From the Battle of Belleau Wood to D-Day, from the Battle of Inchon to Khe Sanh, and of course the more recent race to Baghdad, American soldiers have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our people to enjoy the freedoms we often take for granted today. Let’s remember, we can make this the greatest time in history; we are already the greatest country in history. We are Americans with a capital “A.” There is a time to discuss the events of the world and how they can affect your money, but this week let us all take the time to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy.
Have a great Memorial Day everyone!