The Roots of Memorial Day

By Connor Ciecko

Since our nation was founded, our freedoms have been protected by brave men and women sacrificing for everyone.  The first Memorial Day was observed on May 30, 1868 to honor those who have lost their lives and to thank those who have served.

For many, today is normally a day marking the beginning of summer, with barbeques, marching band and big band concerts, and other public displays of respect.  This year with the impacts of COVID-19 still resting on the nation, things look different.  There is less pomp around the occasion and less public celebration, but with this comes a refreshing perspective and an opportunity to go back to the roots of what Memorial Day truly means.

Today isn’t a day to celebrate being done with school or the start of a long-planned summer vacation.  At its core, it isn’t a time to gather the entire neighborhood together for a party.  But we have the freedom to do those things.  This year, as we continue to social distance and fight the virus pressing through the nation, we can use our time at home to reflect on those who fought to give us those freedoms and remember those who were lost fighting for them.  We can reflect on the time that we have with those closest to us.  We can appreciate the life that we have even though it looks a little different this year.

Today we remember the over 1.1 million Americans who gave their lives and we thank the over 22 million who came home for their sacrifice.

To all veterans and active duty military personnel, we thank you for your service.  We will always remember what we have because of you.