22 May 2009
Welcome to the Friday’s Food for Thought post. This week is a very special installment as we stand on the precipice of Memorial Day weekend. So, what is the Memorial Day holiday really all about? As we are embarking on summer — perhaps gearing up for a long weekend with friends and family — we often forget why we have this holiday. This week’s post is all about this special day and, hopefully, will serve as a reminder that it’s about commemorating those who sacrificed their lives in military duty. So, before we log off early today and fire up the BBQs, we recommend scrolling down and reading this post and taking a moment to honor those who have fallen for our freedom.
History of Memorial Day
So, how did the Memorial Day holiday really come about? Well, it was first enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War and was celebrated near the day of reunification after the war it. The holiday was then expanded after World War I to include American casualties of any war or military action. Read more about the history of it here.
How Best to Observe This Special Holiday
Many people observe this holiday by visiting cemeteries and memorials. A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3 p.m. Another tradition is to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff from dawn until noon local time. In addition, volunteers often place American flags on each gravesite at National Cemeteries. Of course, many families have their own traditions for honoring those family members who have died in the line of duty.
Restoring the Tradition of Observance
If you all feel that truly observing Memorial Day is important, we recommend checking out this online petition . In addition, this site has a number of recommendations on how to heighten the awareness of the Memorial Day holiday and showcase what it is really all about. Among the many things you can do include: write your member of Congress and Senate; contact your local news papers (perhaps pen an Op-Ed); sign the online petition; and wear Memorial Day buttons and garb that reminds others of the importance of this holiday.
Department of Veteran Affairs Memorial Day Site
For more information and history about this holiday, we recommend checking out the Department of Veteran Affair’s web site. The site has plenty of information including the history of “taps,” statistics on fallen soldiers and the “In Flanders Field” poem.
Memorial Day Events Happening in Washington, D.C.
For those located in the DC area, we recommend you check out this Washington Post guide on Memorial Day events happening around town. From the “Rolling Thunder” motorcycle ride to the actual parade, this is a very comprehensive guide and highlights how best to observe this holiday in our nation’s capital.
Salute to the Services Video
We will wrap up this post with a video of the “Salute to the Services” from the National Memorial Day Concert in 2008.
We hope you all have a great weekend, and got geoint? will be back online on Tuesday, May 26.
Tags: Add new tag, Civil War, fallen soldiers, Friday's Food for Thought, GEOINT, got geoint?, History of Memorial Day, Memorial Day, soldiers, United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation, USGIF, World War II