Memorial Day: All Gave Some, Some Gave All

Memorial Day: All Gave Some, Some Gave All | Duluth Moms Blog

Most people think of Memorial Day as the official start of summer; that it’s a three-day weekend spent opening up the lake cabin or going on a picnic. But this day is much more than that. 

A Quick History

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, on May 5, 1868, three years after the Civil War, the Grand Army of the Republic established Decoration Day. This was a day for everyone to go out and decorate the graves of the fallen soldiers with flowers. After World War I, it was decided that all lives lost in all American wars would be remembered on this day, and in 1971, Memorial Day was officially declared a National Holiday and placed on the last Monday of May. By December of the year 2000, Congress had passed the “National Moment of Remembrance Act” which created the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance. The commission’s job is to, “encourage the people of the United States to give something back to their country, which provides them so much freedom and opportunity” by encouraging and coordinating events in the United States on Memorial Day.

Remember the Difference

Even though many people celebrate Memorial Day weekend as the official start of summer, its meaning is more somber then we tend to recognize. Some cities and towns have parades that feature military themes, and veteran’s clubs or other organizations host services for fallen soldiers. Sometimes you might see people on social media thanking veterans on Memorial Day, and while it is always nice to thank our veterans and members of the military, most veterans will encourage you to not celebrate them on a day that is meant to remember the fallen. Memorial Day is a day to honor the men and women who have died in service to our country while Veteran’s Day, held every year on November 11, is a day to celebrate American veterans of all wars, living or passed away. 

Memorial Day is a day that my family holds a special place for, especially my dad who is an Iraq War veteran who lost four of his fellow soldiers to roadside bombs in Iraq. 

SPC Philip D. Brown, 21, of Jamestown, ND
KIA May 8, 2004, near Balad, Iraq
Unit: 141st Engineer Combat Battalion, NDARNG

SPC James Holmes, 28, of Grand Forks, ND
Died May 8, 2004, in Germany of wounds received in action in Iraq
Unit: 141st Engineer Combat Battalion, NDARNG

SSG Lance J. Koenig, 33, of Fargo, ND
KIA Sept. 22, 2004, near Tikrit, Iraq
Unit: 141st Engineer Combat Battalion, NDARNG

SPC Cody L. Wentz, 21, of Williston, ND
KIA Nov. 4, 2004, on MSR Tampa, Iraq
Unit: 141st Engineer Combat Battalion, NDARNG

Yes, we still spend our Memorial Day weekend at the lake, soaking up the sun and getting ready for summer to start, but we always try to make our way to some type of memorial service or ceremony. If we can not do that, we stop to pay our respects at a cemetery or memorial on our way home. 

Memorial Day: All Gave Some, Some Gave All | Duluth Moms Blog

This year I challenge you all to take a moment out of your long weekend of celebrating the start of summer to remember the fallen soldiers who fought so bravely for our freedom and gave the ultimate sacrifice. Educate your children on why this day is special, visit a war memorial and leave flowers, take them to a local museum that celebrates our lost veterans, or just participate in the National Moment of Remembrance; at 3pm local time all American’s are encouraged to participate in one minute of silence to honor all fallen service men and women.

Here are some local memorials and museums that would be great places to visit this Memorial Day weekend:

Northland Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Gary New Duluth Veterans Memorial

Veterans Memorial Hall

Richard I Bong Veterans Historical Center 

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