Memorial Day, or Decoration Day as it was originally called, has been celebrated in the United States of America since just after the Civil War. When, during the spring of each year following that terrible conflict, families of deceased Soldiers would come and lay wreaths and decorations on the graves of those that had been lost. This tradition continued throughout the years and became something much more involved as parades and ceremonies were held in honor of these brave men and women. Decoration Day had come to cover not only the Soldiers lost in the Civil War but those in: World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War before it was finally adopted as a national holiday in 1971. Since its official recognition as a holiday we have added the men and women who have lost their lives in our conflicts in the Middle East. The grand combined total of Soldiers that we have lost is in the ballpark of 1.2 million individuals .
Just the wars fought by current generations amounts to around 662,000 lives lost. And while these numbers are easy to estimate, there is no way to figure out how many individuals have been affected by these losses. How many mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, wives, husbands, etc.. have had to come to terms with never seeing their loved ones again? Today is especially meaningful to these individuals. Today is a day where not only those who loved their Soldier grieve, but so does all of America. By taking the time to remember those we have lost you are, in a small way, confirming to these families that their loved ones have not been forgotten.
So please take a moment today and remember these valiant men and women: say a prayer, visit a cemetery and place some flowers, tell a story about one of these individuals, or simply say the name of individual that has sacrificed their lives defending the country that we love. We must never forget them or that our freedom and liberties depend on those individuals willing and able to give their all.
A few years ago my family land I were able to visit the memorial at Pearl Harbor and I took this picture from the viewing platform that is now about the USS Arizona. It was a humbling experience and one I would recommend every do.