A Day of Remembrance

Memorial Day is a time of observance

Amid a pandemic, millions of people will flock to beaches, parks, and backyards to celebrate the American holiday known as Memorial Day. For many, it’s time for barbecues and games, kicking off the start of the summer season. That won’t be so prevalent this year, and maybe that’s not a bad thing. Maybe more will take note of why this particular Monday exists, because it pays tribute to some of this country’s bravest and most selfless people.

Originally called Decoration Day, the day originated in the years following the Civil War. People would visit gravesites of fallen soldiers, decorating them with flowers and flags. The name shift started in the 1880s, and in 1971 Memorial Day was named an official federal holiday in the United States.

Memorial Day is a time of observance. Always on the last Monday of May, it’s a day to honor the men and women who died while serving in the US military. Some of us observe these heroes by attending cemeteries, memorial services, or otherwise reflecting on those we’ve lost. I think about many, including my Uncle Albert, whom I never had the chance to meet. He is believed to have been killed in action on December 2, 1950, while assaulting Hill 1520 near Toktong Pass and the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. His remains were never recovered.

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Albert Wendell Hazelton (1931–1950) / official military photo

On this special day, at 3pm local time, a national moment of remembrance takes place. I encourage you to join in, wherever you are. A moment to recall their sacrifice and say, “thank you.”

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