What Does Memorial Day Mean to Your Family?

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Picture of graves decorated with flags at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day 2008.
Picture of graves decorated with flags at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day 2008.

Every year, there’s a Veteran’s Day, where we celebrate those who have served our country in the armed forces. And then there’s Memorial Day, which we know has something to do with Veterans as well, but which ends up being more like the first BBQ weekend of the season. However, Memorial Day is every bit as important as Veteran’s Day:

Memorial Day is a United States Federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who perished while in military service to their country. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War, it was expanded after World War I to include casualties of any war or military action.

There’s no one in my family who fits the bill (those family members who served, came home), but after recent conflicts, I’ve come to be connected to two lost members of the military. One of them, a member of the Star Trek pbem RPG I wrote for before I came to GeekDad, and the other, the son of the Principal of the elementary school my boys attended. That one, of course, hit a bit closer to home in terms of bringing the realities of conflict home for my children. Whatever your feelings about any given war, those who have died in service to our country deserve our respect. Please, share stories of your own family Memorial Day connections, and tell us how you explain the meaning of the day to your kids.

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