Memorial Day provides us an opportunity to remember those who have served our nation honorably, and to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our great country.
Memorial Day was initially known as Decoration Day, originating in the years following the Civil War. It didn’t become an official federal holiday until 1971.
Many people may consider the holiday an opportunity to have a day off of work, or perhaps to spend some time by the pool or having a barbecue, and in regular times, holding family gatherings, participating in parades, or visiting cemeteries or memorials. Memorial Day is also the unofficial beginning of summer.
After the Civil War, various towns and cities had begun holding tributes for the fallen soldiers. In 1966, the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day. The city was chosen for the honor as it had been celebrating Memorial Day since May 1866 and hosted annual, community-wide events where businesses closed. Residents decorated the graves of fallen soldiers with flags and flowers.
Every Memorial Day at 3 p.m. local time, a national moment of remembrance takes place, providing us an opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices people have made for our nation. In recent years, since September 11, 2001, people have also been remembering fallen police and firefighters who have given their lives in service and protection of others.
This year, Memorial Day is going to be celebrated differently, with many of the traditions being canceled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Many of the nation’s veterans’ cemeteries and memorial parks are going to be open and available for friends and family to visit and reflect. Wearing a red poppy is a symbol to remember those who have died in war.
Idaho only has one National Cemetery within its borders, located in Buhl. The Snake River Canyon National Cemetery is run by the Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Cemetery Administration.
Locally, the Boise Veterans Cemetery off Horseshoe Bend Road is run by the state for veterans.
There are countless other memorial parks and cemeteries across the valley where those who have fallen, rest.
However you choose to spend the day, take a moment to remember those who have sacrificed for our country, allowing us to enjoy the many freedoms we have.