The last Monday in May is Memorial Day, it is set aside to commemorate the men and women who have died in military service for the US. However, over time it has come to have more meaning as the beginning of summer and the true meaning of the day is slowly, quietly slipping away. It is important that we always remember what that day really means.
Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day began as a way to honor Union Soldiers who had perished in the American Civil War. After World War I, the day was extended and became a way to remember all of the men and women who had died in any military action or war.
This year Memorial Day is on May 29. It is a national day of mourning.
When I lived in DC I visited Arlington National Cemetery several times. It is breathtaking and humbling. If you are ever in the area I highly recommend a visit. If you can catch the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the experience will stay with you forever.
Northern Virginia has some incredible historical sites including Civil War battle grounds, George Washington’s homestead, Arlington National Cemetery, the Pentagon Memorial, and several military museums. If you venture into the District, there are all of the National Monuments, including the World War II Memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial, and the Korean War Memorial. They are truly something to see.
On Memorial Day, various groups take time to put American flags on all the gravesites. It is a simple gesture to recognize and honor our fallen soldiers. The view is spectacular. Other groups do this in local cemeteries all across the country. It is a great family activity that helps children understand the huge sacrifice that so many of our soldiers made so that we could have the freedoms we do today.
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