Monday was Memorial Day, a day in which Americans honor and eulogize military servicemen and women who have died while serving their country.
The holiday is now held on the last Monday in May, but that is not its original day of recognition. It was first known as Decoration Day as volunteers and family members often decorated graves of loved ones with flags. It was called Decoration Day until 1882, when the name Memorial Day was first used.
In 1968, then-president Richard M. Nixon changed the dates of several holidays, including Memorial Day, changing them from their traditional dates to Mondays to give most Americans a three-day weekend. The traditional date of Memorial Day was May 30th.
Decoration Day originated after the Civil War to commemorate Union and Confederate soldiers who had died in the war. By the 20th Century, Memorial Day had been expanded to honor all Americans who died while in military service, states Wikipedia.
Memorial Day is different from Veterans Day, which celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day is a day to honor those who died from wounds or illness while serving their country.
Memorial Day is often an emotional day…honoring our veterans who died can bring people to tears as they remember loved ones lost in service to their country. It is humbling, also, to learn that only a very small percentage of the population of the United States have ever put on a uniform to support and uphold the freedom we enjoy.
The day is often recognized as the official kickoff of the Summer season as well, and is celebrated with cookouts, fireworks, family reunions, lake or coast visits and more. Here in Havana, many of the shops were open to give people another reason for making the day special.
Speaking of veterans, please mark your calendars for July 26th, when Havana veterans will be grilling hotdogs while several popular area bands play for your enjoyment! The event is free to get in for the music and it will serve as a donation drive for our area’s Veterans Village, which is based in Tallahassee. Veterans Villages offer customized programs throughout the state and in partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Volunteers of America/Florida provides housing and services to our homeless veterans.
The organization, a 501(c)3, offers housing and job-training, vocational and other services while these veterans learn to transition from battle zones to normal life. The facility offers apartments that give privacy but also provides an easy way to blend back with others by socialization activities. It is a drug- and alcohol-free campus. Once again, Havana veterans, who have for the past several years given troop donation drives along with some fabulous music provided by area bands that support the military, are doing something special for those at this facility who have needs beyond what they can afford. There will be more about specifics on items to bring to the donation drive later. I just wanted to give you a heads up about another fun day that greatly helps our vets! Hope you had a happy, safe and memorable Memorial Day!