On Our Mind

Photo by Valentino Funghi

Memorial Day: Remember and Honor

Often conflated with Veterans Day, which pays tribute to military veterans every November 11thMemorial Day is the day we honor the women and men who died while serving in the US Armed Forces in all wars. This year Memorial Day falls on Monday, May 27th.

There are some things that Gold Star families want you to know this Memorial Day. From the Military Times,

"In today's world, some think Memorial Day is solely dedicated to the fallen from decades-old wars...'Freedom is not free,' and in our post 9/11 world, personal freedoms can't be taken for granted.  All currently serving military personnel contribute in some way to protecting our freedoms; some pay dearly. Memorial Day is for honouring those who have recently died, too." 

Naturally, the commemoration of the 75thanniversary of the D-Day Landings in Normandy on June 6th will dominate military tributes this year. But you may want to pay your respects in advance of that by participating in one of the Memorial Day wreath laying ceremonies being held on May 26th by Democrats Abroad France - Paris, Riviera, and Strasbourg chapters.  Other Memorial Day events hosted by DA France are noted below.*

If getting to the nearest American cemetery isn’t convenient, you can also pay your respects with a bit of silence - a national moment of remembrance that takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time (CET) every year on Memorial Day.

The origins of Memorial Day, initially called Decoration Day, date back to the Civil War - where the custom of decorating the graves of lost soldiers began.  Its date (formally May 30th although always recognized at the end of May) was chosen expressly because it wasn’t associated with a specific battle. It became an official holiday in 1971.  

Progress takes time...



* Democrats Abroad France chapters will hold 75th anniversary events on June 2nd in Normandy and June 1st and 2nd in Toulouse.  On June 6th, Democrats Abroad France will join in the commemoration at the American Cemetery in Normandy.  If you are in Brittany, there is a Memorial Day cocktail on May 29th.