Monday May 25 is Memorial Day here in the United States of America for those of you who live elsewhere. It is a federal holiday that takes place the last Monday of May every year.
The holiday started in 1868 as Decoration Day because of the end of Civil War. The name was changed to Memorial Day in 1882. Though it was a holiday it did not become an official Federal holiday in 1967.
The purpose of Memorial Day is to remember every soldier who died in a war. It became very important after World War Two since so many died during that war.
Most communities celebrate Memorial Day by having tributes at many cemeteries. Here in Western Washington we have several military bases. Bremerton which is about a half an hour north of Gig Harbor has the Naval Ship Yard. Also, there is the Naval Station on Whidbey Island that is north of Seattle. There are a lot of pilots that are trained on Whidbey Island. Just south of Tacoma is Fort Lewis Army Base and McChord Air Force Base. They actually now go by Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Over many years I have talked with many soldiers who have retired in the area after serving time at Ft. Lewis or McChord. It is estimated that over one hundred and twenty thousand retirees live in the area. There are a lot of days where I can see planes flying in or out of McChord.
Boeing and Microsoft are the two largest employers in the area; however, the military presence shows a lot of hiring as well.
Growing up federal holiday’s like Memorial Day meant to me that I would be out of school. They did not become important to me until I became an adult. Memorial Day meant that summer was about here. I am sure a lot of people like myself who did not lose any family in war they still use Memorial Day to remember and honor family members that are no longer with us.
The most important thing about Memorial Day is that the soldiers who fought and died did so we can be free. Though the United States is not perfect by any means it is freedom that makes our country great.
So those who are fellow countrymen remember now the freedom we have. Those in other countries that are free as well remember your countrymen who died as well to make you free. Those of you that do not have freedom we pray that your country becomes free.