Memorial Day: Pause to remember

May 28, 2023 at 7:03 p.m.
Memorial Day: Pause to remember
Memorial Day: Pause to remember

By Bishop David M. O'Connell, C.M.

Memorial Day is the national holiday that is widely regarded as the “unofficial beginning of summer.” Originally known as “Decoration Day,” the holiday dates back to a commemoration of U.S. military personnel who lost their lives in the Civil War.

First celebrated in numerous northern states on May 30 as early as 1866, “Decoration Day” became an annual national event to remember men and women who died in the service of their country during wartime by decorating their graves with flags and flowers. In 1971, Congress established “Memorial Day” as a federal holiday to be celebrated on the last Monday of May.

[[In-content Ad]]

Traditions surrounding the national commemoration developed throughout the 20th century. Visits to cemeteries, speeches, displaying American flags, community parades and family picnics have become standard practice in cities and towns everywhere in the U.S.  

Although not considered a “religious holiday,” Memorial Day is often solemnized as a time to reflect upon American patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting and defending the country they deeply loved. In a sense, it has become a “sacred” day fixed in the American psyche.

The “secular ways” that we remember all those who have died for our country on Memorial Day are, indeed, good things that draw us together as a nation. As Christians, however, we understand that there is a deeper meaning to the sacrifice made by our beloved dead men and women in uniform. “No one has greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).

Memorial Day is a sacred occasion to remember that sacrifice, that love. Memorial Day is a sacred occasion to be grateful to God for those who made the ultimate sacrifice in wars throughout our national history so that we might continue to enjoy the freedoms that are ours. And in the midst of our holiday celebrations, Memorial Day is a sacred occasion that calls us to pray for them, for their eternal peace and for peace in our world. 


Related Stories

Memorial Day is the national holiday that is widely regarded as the “unofficial beginning of summer.” Originally known as “Decoration Day,” the holiday dates back to a commemoration of U.S. military personnel who lost their lives in the Civil War.

First celebrated in numerous northern states on May 30 as early as 1866, “Decoration Day” became an annual national event to remember men and women who died in the service of their country during wartime by decorating their graves with flags and flowers. In 1971, Congress established “Memorial Day” as a federal holiday to be celebrated on the last Monday of May.

[[In-content Ad]]

Traditions surrounding the national commemoration developed throughout the 20th century. Visits to cemeteries, speeches, displaying American flags, community parades and family picnics have become standard practice in cities and towns everywhere in the U.S.  

Although not considered a “religious holiday,” Memorial Day is often solemnized as a time to reflect upon American patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting and defending the country they deeply loved. In a sense, it has become a “sacred” day fixed in the American psyche.

The “secular ways” that we remember all those who have died for our country on Memorial Day are, indeed, good things that draw us together as a nation. As Christians, however, we understand that there is a deeper meaning to the sacrifice made by our beloved dead men and women in uniform. “No one has greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).

Memorial Day is a sacred occasion to remember that sacrifice, that love. Memorial Day is a sacred occasion to be grateful to God for those who made the ultimate sacrifice in wars throughout our national history so that we might continue to enjoy the freedoms that are ours. And in the midst of our holiday celebrations, Memorial Day is a sacred occasion that calls us to pray for them, for their eternal peace and for peace in our world. 

Have a news tip? Email [email protected] or Call/Text 360-922-3092

e-Edition


e-edition

Sign up


for our email newsletters

Weekly Top Stories

Sign up to get our top stories delivered to your inbox every Sunday

Daily Updates & Breaking News Alerts

Sign up to get our daily updates and breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox daily

Latest Stories


The Doomsday Clock –the theoretical timepiece that measures humanity's march
he Doomsday Clock –the theoretical timepiece that measures humanity's march...

Catholic men share faith, fellowship at annual rally
The 2024 Catholic Men for Jesus Christ conference brought together ...

Seven U.S. cardinals pledge to help heal Ukraine's wounds of war through new fund
With Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine entering its third year...

En el Rito de Elección, el Obispo dice que “ser Católico hace la diferencia
Emilio Robles le da crédito a su prometida y a su familia...

Guadalupe: Mother of Humanity
Every year, in the run– up to her Dec. 12 feast day, more than 10 million...


The Evangelist, 40 North Main Ave., Albany, NY, 12203-1422 | PHONE: 518-453-6688| FAX: 518-453-8448
© 2024 Trenton Monitor, All Rights Reserved.