By Representative Dean Schamore – Memorial Day weekend is the considered by many to be the kick-off of summer, celebrated with barbecues, picnics and department store sales. To the families of fallen and deceased veterans it is a special holiday, marked by solemn ceremonies remembering those who lost their lives on the battlefields and in service to our country. Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War, originally referred to as Decoration Day and since 1868, it has been a day to remember the dead in our Armed Forces.
Modern day traditions include placing flags or poppies on the graves of all deceased who served in the U.S. Military. In 2000, Congress passed the National Moment of Remembrance resolution that requests all Americans to pause at 3 p.m. on Memorial Day to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
At our nation’s capital, Memorial Day draws tens of thousands of veterans to the National Mall for ceremonies and remembrances at the war monuments, and over 5,000 people annually attend a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. Thousands of motorcyclists participate in a Rolling Thunder parade honoring the memory of Vietnam Veterans and military still missing in action from the Vietnam War.
During my time in the U.S. Navy, I had the privilege of standing shoulder to shoulder with men and women who put their lives on the line everyday to defend and protect our country. In my role as state representative, I am committed to sponsoring legislation to help our returning veterans, which included legislation this year to help disabled veterans. Serving on the Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee, we hear firsthand about the needs of our veterans and their families.
This year Memorial Day falls not only on the first Monday but on May 30th, the original day designated for Decoration Day. Throughout our communities, churches, cities and cemeteries will hold Memorial Day services during the upcoming weekend. Before you fire up the barbecue or head out for sale shopping, I hope you will join me in honoring and remembering our heroes.
Whether you attend a ceremony, visit a cemetery to place flowers, or pause at 3 p.m. to remember those who sacrificed so much, your remembrance of this important, solemn occasion helps us to put “memorial” back in Memorial Day. I wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday.