Is Memorial Day supposed to be 'happy'?

Memorial Day was not a legal holiday until President Lyndon B. signed legislation in 1966, but the tradition of honoring our war dead was already almost a century old by then.

Memorial Day is not about the barbecue at the beach, although that's great. Their graves were decorated with flowers as people prayed. She'll then visit Section 60, the final resting place of many service members who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although some grave markers were dated years and years ago, there could still be people living who were told about their courage and love of country.

On the first observance of Decoration Day, Gen. James Garfield spoke at Arlington National Cemetery.

However, today is more than another break from school or work.

Unfortunately, much of the nation has lost touch with this original goal of the day, especially for those who have no close ties to the military.

In his holiday message, Ricketts calls the Memorial Day weekend a time for Nebraskans to "honor those fearless men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the liberties and freedoms we hold dear".

One doesn't have to accept that every military decision the nation has made was wise in order to honor those who lost their lives carrying out those decisions.

On the 100th anniversary of the United States' entry into World War I, we are reminded that it was America's potential military might - especially the large number of men who would volunteer or be drafted - which the Germans feared. At 12 years old, his father decided this would be the year to show him and his siblings why dad gets a three day holiday from his job at Mayport Naval Station. This year, I hope people take the time to recognize the true meaning of Memorial Day and not merely relegate it to a day of simple rest and relaxation. Veterans groups were concerned Americans associate the holiday with the first long weekend of summer and not a holiday to remember those who lost their lives serving in the military.

The federal holiday started as an event to honor Union soldiers who had died during the American Civil War.

In 1971, the last Monday in May was declared to be Memorial Day and a national holiday.

"Our nation owes a debt to its fallen heroes that we can never fully repay, but we can honor their sacrifice" - President Barack Obama. But we need to remember what Memorial Day is really about.

  • Bernice Underwood