Memorial Day, for some it is just another holiday, a time for picnics, backyard barbecues, a day at the lake or beach or for many who have to work, just another day in the life.
Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Memorial Day 2018 occurs on Monday, May 28. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.
The Civil War, which ended in the spring of 1865, claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history and required the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries.
By the late 1860s, Americans in various towns and cities had begun holding springtime tributes to these countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers.
On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month. “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,” he proclaimed.
For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30, the date Logan had selected for the first Decoration Day. But in 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees; the change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.
In reality it is an American holiday as history.com states, even though other countries have followed suit and designate certain days for similar observances, In Canada July first is set aside for the remembrance of its veterans, April twenty-fifth in Australia and New Zealand. But it is a secular holiday, officially sanctioned by the state and not the church even though some churches include Memorial Day observances. Every year we see opinion/editorials (op-eds) questioning the inclusion/exclusion of Memorial Day observances by the church; so I thought I would research this a bit. I grew up where Memorial Day is always observed by the church as well as by our family, so I am intrigued by those that take the position that we should not celebrate the lives of those that have given so much.
A thought such as this, can lead you down a rabbit hole. You might find something interesting or something totally bizarre as that found at the bottom of the rabbit hole in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland the 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll, and the fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures. I suppose in this post modern world we should admonish; “Be careful what you Google!”
Yeah, you guessed it, I made the mistake of “Googleing” the phrase “Why do churches not celebrate memorial day?” As you can see in Continue reading