Caravan Sonnet: Gratitude on Memorial Day

5/29/17

Gratitude on Memorial Day

"We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude." 

-Cynthia Ozick-


Several years ago, as I prepared to celebrate the Memorial Day holiday I realized that I was embarrassed to admit that I didn't know the history behind the particular day. So I decided to look it up and learn about it. As many of you know, Memorial Day is a patriotic holiday that is intended to honor the Americans who have protected our country throughout generations. Memorial Day started as a way to remember those who had died in the Civil War. At this time it was called "Decoration Day, and was first strted in Carbondale, Illinois in 1866. Over the decades celebrations spread to different towns and cities across the United States, and eventually in 1971 it became a formal national holiday. 

If you visit a grave site, you may see people placing coins on top of a grave. Each coin symbolizes a different thing. Pennies mean that you stopped by the grave site, dimes symbolize serving with the deceased and quarters mean that you witnessed the deceased death.

Having lived in different parts of the country, it is interesting to me how different areas celebrate this holiday. For example, when I lived in DC there was always a service held at Arlington Cemetery and always different concert options, while in NYC there are parades. Texas, Alabama, and Virginia also celebrate Confederate Memorial Day which honors Confederate soldiers. Different sections of the country offer all different ways to celebrate and last week I shared about different Memorial Day activities offered around the Lake Champlain area. No matter what you do to celebrate on Memorial Day don't forget to stop at 3pm to remember the deceased. Under an act signed by President Clinton in 2000, Americans are supposed to stop and remember the deceased at that time. 

I am so grateful to live in a country that takes time to honor the men and women who have served and our serving our country and their families. To all of our veterans and active military members and their families and loved ones: I am forever grateful for your service and sacrifice today and everyday. May you experience the gratitude our nation feels on this Memorial Day and beyond.

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