Memorial Day: The Official Start of Summer?

Saturday, 26 May 2012 02:36 Written by  Aspyn Jones

Memorial Day is considered by many a day to whip out the barbeque grills, throw on slabs of meat, and break out the cooler for a day of fun in the sun. It’s a day to enjoy the parade festivities, and pay your respects to the dead. Not to mention, it unofficially marks the start of a season we all love so much.

But there’s one very important thing that we tend to glaze over when it comes to this holiday.

Memorial Day, which falls on May 28 this year, is a day that’s meant to celebrate the efforts of those who died while serving in the armed forces to protect the United States.

It was originally termed “Decoration Day” in reference to women placing flowers on the graves of dead confederate soldiers and was officially celebrated as a holiday in 1868. Initially, the holiday also spanned a three-day weekend--- one thing we can all appreciate.

Because Americans had lost sight of what Memorial Day truly meant, in 2000, the National Moment of Remembrance was implemented. At 3PM, Americans would be encouraged to take a moment in remembrance of the fallen comrades of the United States.

The meaning of Memorial Day has slowly slipped away from the American psyche. Instead of honoring individuals who died defending the country, they take pride in attending parades, celebrating a holiday, secretly unsure of the group it honors.

The meaning of Memorial Day is specifically to remember the Marines, Navy SEALs, National Guards, Army members, Coast Guards, and any other man or woman who passed away while defending the United States.

So, while you’re enjoying the sun, good food, friends and family this weekend, remember the importance of a day that is so easily forgotten.

Aspyn Jones

Aspyn Jones

Aspyn Jones is a new GMO staff writer. She can be contacted at