Real Meaning of Memorial Day

By Scot Feldmeyer

BarryStaff of Cincinnati Newsletter 5/27/11

      First let me say THANK YOU to all who have served our country. Whatever your role in the military, we appreciate your sacrifice.  But really the day to properly do that is Veterans’ Day. Veterans Day is on November 11 and it’s a great day to buy a beer for all of the guys at the VFW Hall.  However Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have DIED in our nation’s service. 

      It was started in 1868 as a time to decorate the graves of fallen Civil War soldiers from the North.  The South had several different days to do the same but after WWI, Memorial Day became a time to remember all Americans who had given the ultimate sacrifice in any war.

      Traditional observance of Memorial Day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day.  At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored and neglected.  Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day.  While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades.  In 2004 Washington DC held their first Memorial Day parade in 60 years!  Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.  Heck, I was raised in Indianapolis. As a kid I always thought of it as a day to have picnics and go to the Indianapolis 500.

      To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of Remembrance and Respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps.” 

      If you have a flagpole, here is a reminder of proper flag etiquette.  The American flag should be flown at half-staff until noon on Monday.  If you raise your flag on Monday morning (as opposed to having an illuminated all-weather flag you leave out all night), you need to first raise it to the top of the staff and then lower it to half-staff from there.  Then bring it back to full staff at noon.

      Here at BarryStaff we are proud of the veterans of our armed forces who are employed by us.  We are grateful for their service and thankful that they returned home safe to find productive employment through BarryStaff. Both our client companies and we are lucky to have you. Also we welcome home Greg Cross’s son who is now stationed in Hawaii after serving as an Army Scout in Iraq.  However we will also take some time this weekend to remember those who were not so lucky.

      Hope you have a happy Memorial Day but don’t forget that moment of silence at 3:00 on Monday.