History of Memorial Day
The practice of decorating soldiers’ graves goes way back but gained new significance after the Civil War due to the large numbers who died (600,000+). There were many different decoration day celebrations taking place throughout the country.
The name for the holiday gradually shifted from “Decoration Day” to “Memorial Day” (first used in 1882). This was declared the official name in 1967 and in 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which moved several holidays to a specified Monday to create three-day weekends. Now celebrated the last Monday of May, it is a time to remember those who have died serving in the armed forces, but has also come to mark the start of summer holidays.
Reflecting on Memorial Day
In the midst of the holiday parties and beginnings of summer fun, we’d like to take the time to focus on the holiday’s meaning and remember our heroes who have served in the armed forces (and the many still serving today who continue to sacrifice and risk their lives for our greater good). We have been honored to work with many veterans and sometimes hear their stories. Many have shared the bravery of those they served with who gave the ultimate sacrifice of their lives.
Ways to Celebrate this Memorial Day
On Saturday, this 5K race combines wounded warriors, active/retired military, and civilian runners. $20-40, includes a t-shirt and a post-race party.
The Florida Aquarium will offer active duty military, veterans, retired military and drilling reservists or National Guard members two free admissions (and can bring up to four family members for $10 each).
Veterans Memorial Unveiling (Sunday at 1:00 pm)
Join Mayor George Cretekos and other dignitaries at the unveiling of the new Florida Veterans Memorial Plaza at Crest Lake Park.
Memorial Day Sunset Ceremony at Largo Central Park
Free celebration to honor those who have lost their lives fighting for our country, with music, speeches, and a remembrance.
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Activities in honor of Memorial Day:
Spend some time with aging veterans (family members, neighbors or at a local senior center/facility). World War II veterans are dying at a rate of about 400/day. Take the time to thank these members of “The Greatest Generation” and listen to their stories and wisdom.
Visit the grave of a deceased veteran family member or attend a memorial ceremony.
Put together a memory book about your loved one’s contributions in the armed forces. If he/she is alive, ask questions and compile a history for the family. If your loved one is deceased, pull together pictures and ask family members for information or do some research to create a record for the future.
Our team extends our deepest gratitude to all those who have served!
Dedicated to our Older Veterans (with helpful resource links)