American flags for Memorial Day. (Mark Gresham / Midjourney)

Memorial Day: a national remembrance of service and sacrifice

Mark Gresham | 29 MAY 2023

Memorial Day is a special day of remembrance to honor and mourn the U.S. military personnel who fought and died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. As a nation, we in the United States officially observe it as a federal holiday today.

From 1868 to 1970, it was known as “Decoration Day,” observed on May 30. In 1971, Congress renamed it “Memorial Day” and changed its observance to the last Monday in May. Because of that date change, we typically observe an entire “Memorial Day Weekend” each year and treat it as the civic beginning of summer, even though summer solstice will not officially begin until June 21 this year.

Although taken from a Thanksgiving address, the following quote from the late President John F. Kennedy resonates deeply with the essence of Memorial Day:

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~John F. Kennedy

It is worth bearing in mind, as we commemorate the service and sacrifices of our fallen soldiers in a spirit of national unity and gratitude, that our sincerest means of honoring them lies not in mere words but in a profound commitment to living by the values they fought to protect.

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About the author:
Mark Gresham is publisher and principal writer of EarRelevant. he began writing as a music journalist over 30 years ago, but has been a composer of music much longer than that. He was the winner of an ASCAP/Deems Taylor Award for music journalism in 2003.