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The True Meaning of Memorial Day

Posted by Lacey Hagler on Friday, May 22nd, 2020 at 10:37am.

Every year in South Florida, people flock to their boats, the beach, and backyard pools to fly American flags, grill hotdogs, and celebrate good old fashioned American freedom in the sunshine, but do you know what Memorial Day really represents?

Less than half of Americans know the true meaning behind Memorial Day, according to a new survey.

The survey revealed that 57% of respondents did not know the true meaning of Memorial Day, so we’re here to help clear this up!

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. The holiday honoring all military veterans in which people are obliged to “thank you for your service” is actually Veterans Day.

“For many Americans, Memorial Day is a much-needed day off to relax and enjoy their family. It is important to understand that it is also a solemn day of remembrance. For me, as a combat veteran, and for military members and their families, this day holds great significance. Not everyone I served with was fortunate enough to return home,” said Brian Ishmael, senior director, University of Phoenix Office of Military and Veteran Affairs and former U.S. Army sergeant.

Early Observances of Memorial Day

Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.

The Civil War, which ended in the spring of 1865, claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history and required the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries.

By the late 1860s, Americans in various towns and cities had begun holding springtime tributes to these countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers.

Memorial Day in 2020

Even though there’s some confusion about the holiday, 83% of Americans believe it’s important to do something to commemorate Memorial Day.

Eighty-seven percent of respondents said we should be doing more to honor both living veterans and those who died serving, and the survey found 76% believe Memorial Day should transcend politics.

While 79% of respondents said their plans for Memorial Day will be different as a result of the current travel restrictions, 78% said they have an opportunity to be more reflective this year.

“Like so many others, our annual Memorial Day traditions have altered this year,” said Ishmael. However, we can all still do our part to honor the fallen. Flying a flag, taking a moment of reflection or speaking to a veteran about their experiences are simple ways to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day.”

From our family at Waterfront Properties and Waterfront Yacht Brokerage, Happy Memorial Day! And remember: Home of the Free, Because of the Brave.


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