Honoring The Dead Of Unknown
As Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. said in his Memorial Day address in 1884 at Keene, Memorial Day ‘celebrates and solemnly reaffirms from year to year a national act of enthusiasm and faith.’ With changing times, Memorial Day is more celebrated as a holiday than the glum occasion it was meant for. We must remember that the day means to honor of America’s defense personnel who lost their lives in various wars. Though, people used to honor the graves of the war dead even before the Civil War, the National Memorial Day holiday, originally known as ‘Decoration Day’ was first observed on May 30, 1868.
The concept originated in the mind of General John Alexander Logan, who dedicated this day to decorate the graves of the American Civil War dead. Later, it encompassed all those who sacrificed their lives for their nation, from the Revolutionary War to the present. May 30th every year was celebrated as the Memorial Day until 1971. Later, the federal government issued the orders of holding the Memorial Day on the last Monday of May. Alabama celebrates Confederate Memorial Day on the fourth Monday in April while the states of Mississippi and Georgia celebrate it on the last Monday of April.
Seeing the Memorial Day losing its importance in the minds of younger generations, the concept of the National Moment of Remembrance was hatched by a national humanitarian organizations known as the ‘No Greater Love, based in Washington, D.C. It was introduced in 1997 and is recognized by the President and Members of Congress. Since then, ‘Taps’ is at 3 p.m. throughout America to honor the contributions of our dead soldiers. All Americans are encouraged to pay respect to them by keeping silent for one minute in their memory at 3:00 p.m.