COMMENTARY: Memorial Day, a Day of Remembrance

It’s not just an excuse for a three-day weekend or a day for barbecue and beer.

Memorial Day is a time for Americans to connect with our national history and core values by honoring those who gave their lives fighting for this country.

It’s said that this special day to salute fallen Americans was born during the Civil War in Mississippi when a group of grieving mothers and wives who were placing flowers on graves in a Confederate cemetery noticed a neglected graveyard for Union soldiers.

Knowing these ignored tombstones marked the resting place of young men equally loved and missed, the Southern women cleaned the Union cemetery anddecorated the grave sites with flowers. In 1882, Decoration Day became a national holiday. Later, the name was changed to Memorial Day.

In 1996, Carmella LaSpada, founder of No Greater Love, a nonprofit organization dedicated to memorializing fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism, met with a group of schoolchildren on the Mall in Washington, D.C. When she asked them what Memorial Day meant, they said, “That’s the day the pool opens.”

Deciding that children should know why they’re free and who paid for their freedom, she generated an idea for a moment of remembrance, which Congress adopted in 2000. Today, you and your family can honor the National Moment of Remembrance by pausing at 3 p.m. local time to observe in your own way one minute of silence to contemplate or pray in honor of our fallen members of the military.

During my minute I’m going to think about and thank the thousands of American troops who are in harm’s way in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

Comments 5

  1. Thank you Mr. M. Josephson, so much for your post! We are a military family and take it to heart the significance of this day. My husband, Ray Blunt and I wish that all american understand what this special day stand for.My husband is a Vietnam Veteran, we remember this day with tears and heartache. God Bless.

  2. This Memorial Day celebrates and honors all American citizens who continue to sacrifice in some manner to foster our great Union. My loved ones gave their ALL in some cases, gave MORE than they could ever fully understand (PTSD), won the Big War, lost a smaller war and generally we have all discovered the truth that “War is Hell !!!”

    Remembering these sacrifices makes me both somber and smilingly think of “Amazingly Grace”. Gratefullness is a beautiful state of mind we are so blessed to easily embrace here in America. When we achieve further debt reductions, we will even more freely experience even more gratefullness :):)

    Our Ahearn family memorial cross at the base of Great Kelsey Rock on Rancho San Luis, Bear Valley (Colusa County, CA) needs fresh paint this holiday; which allows us ALL to gather for a rock climbing, paint party very soon !! :):)

    May God Bless our Josephson Institute and Michael’s healthy, vibrant, new international leadership. The modelling and powerful lessons amongst our J.I. group is another huge gift to be grateful for.

    Rest in Peace Coach Wooden and Nellie :):) God Bless.

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  3. Thank you for your commentary. I start Memorial Day with a prayer of thanksgiving for all those who have fought and sacrificed with their lives. I was married to an Air Force Sgt. and he loved this country and did not think for a second about serving to defend our freedoms. Memorial Day holds great meaning to me. I pray our soldiers are safe and fed well everyday. I love our great military!

  4. Thanks to those who gave the ultimate price. Now can we please just stop assuming that there are so many out there, here in this great country that do not appreciate what we have, and how we got it. Memorial Day should not be a guilt trip. All people grieve, and give thanks differently. There is no instruction manual…

    Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to have a couple hot dogs to celebrate this day…

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