By S. Bond, Citizens Journal
Memorial Day is a day to remember all service members and their families who have died in the service of their country.
“Per the PUBLIC LAW 106–579—DEC. 28, 2000
Congress finds that—
(1) it is essential to remember and renew the legacy of
Memorial Day, which was established in 1868 to pay tribute to individuals who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the United States and their families; ….
(5) in House Concurrent Resolution 302, agreed to May 25, 2000, Congress called on the people of the United States, in a symbolic act of unity, to observe a National Moment of Remembrance to honor the men and women of the United States who died in the pursuit of freedom and peace;……
(6) in Presidential Proclamation No. 7315 of May 26, 2000 (65 Fed. Reg. 34907), the President proclaimed Memorial Day, May 29, 2000, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and designated 3:00 p.m. local time on that day as the time to join in prayer and to observe the National Moment of Remem- brance;”.
How did Memorial Day start in the United States? Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day.
“Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War (which ended in 1865) and a desire to honor our dead. On the 5th of May in 1868, General John Logan who was the national commander of the Grand Army of the republic, officially proclaimed it in his General Order No. 11.
Part of the history of Memorial Day will show that in the Order, the General proclaimed, “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.
Because the day wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle, the General called it, The date of Decoration Day.
On the first Decoration Day, 5,000 participants decorated the graves of 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried at Arlington Cemetery while General James Garfield made a historic speech.”
How does the government define who is a service member?
Per the Department of Defense active duty service member is defined as:
“4. Active Duty. Full-time duty in the active service of a Uniformed Service, including full time training duty, annual training duty, full-time National Guard duty, and attendance, while in the active service, at a school designated as a Military Service school by law or by the Secretary concerned….. 17. Armed Forces of the United States. Includes the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, and all components thereof.
18. Army National Guard of the United States. The part of the Army Ready Reserve whose members are also members of the Army National Guard.”
Did you know that the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy is the only one of the nation’s five federal academies authorized to carry a Battle Standard flag as part of its color guard?
How are the families of these service members that gave all recognized by the Department of Defense? “In 1945, the Gold Star Wives of America organization was created and in 1947, the Department of Defense (DoD) created the Gold Star Lapel Pin for the Gold Star Family to wear on their lapel. The title of Gold Star Family is reserved for families of military members who have died in the line of duty, is meant to honor the service member’s ultimate sacrifice while acknowledging their family’s loss, grief and continued healing.
The Gold Star Lapel Pin, which features a star on a purple circular background, can only be worn by the immediate family of service members killed in combat. In 1973, the DoD created a similar Next of Kin Deceased Personnel Lapel Pin to give to family members of service members who lose their lives while serving, but did not die in combat.
Gold Star Lapel Pin (left)
Next of Kin Lapel Pin (right)
Today, the military continues to issue Gold Star Lapel Pins or Next of Kin Deceased Personnel Lapel pins to spouses, parents and children of fallen members of the military.”
“The Gold Star Lapel Pins are awarded by the Defense Department usually through your casualty officer.
There are 2 different pins. The one you are awarded depends on the circumstances of your loved one’s death.”
So this Memorial Day please remember at 3:00 p.m. local time to join in prayer and to observe the National Moment of Remembrance for those service men and women who gave their lives for our country and their families.
S. Bond is a writer for Citizens Journal and a resident of Oxnard, CA.