Next week, citizens across the United States will gather to honor Memorial Day. For many, this weekend marks the start of summer and the opportunity to gather with friends, family and neighbors. However, and more importantly, it marks a time to remember the sacrifices that American soldiers have made so that we may enjoy our liberty and freedom. Memorial Day is the time when our country stops to honor that sacred sacrifice made by the fallen men and women who died bravely serving our country and your freedom.
Historically, the first observance of Memorial Day began after the Civil War as a way to honor the hundreds of thousands of Americans who perished in that war. By May 1868, the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), an organization of Union veterans, established Decoration Day as the day to decorate the graves of those who died with flowers. The date of May 30 was chosen because many believed that flowers would be in full bloom and could be used as decorations. The first large observance of this holiday took place that year at Arlington National Cemetery.