Happy Memorial Day from the Gatlinburg Daily Post

Now, more than ever, we are reminded of the sacrifices that so many are making in the name of America and the freedoms that we have because of it. These sacrifices are integral to the American identity, and are why we have holidays throughout the calendar year to help us remember them. Memorial Day is today, Monday, May 29, 2017.

Memorial Day honors the men and women who have died while serving in the United States military, and became official back in 1971. People usually celebrate the holiday by visiting cemeteries to pay their respects to those who have lost their lives. Others gather their family and friends together for picnics and barbecues.

The holiday doesn’t have a specific point of origin. However, popular belief is that Memorial Day might have started with the Civil War. With so many casualties resulting from the conflict, there became a growing need for the establishment of national cemeteries. People began to gather at these cemeteries year after year to pay their respects to the fallen.

This idea of paying respects would create the first attempt at a holiday known as Decoration Day. Decoration Day was established on May 5, 1868 by General John A. Logan. The holiday would work for a few decades, but everything would change with the unprecedented devastation unleashed by World War I.

Many felt that Decoration Day only celebrated those who had fallen during the Civil War. The conflicts and actions that took so many lives during World War I would change this holiday into Memorial Day, as the public felt that we should commemorate all military personnel who died in all wars, rather than just one. Today, Memorial Day gives us a chance to reflect and think on those who have bravely given their lives in the cause of freedom. Happy Memorial Day from all of us at the Gatlinburg Daily Post.

Source: Elizabeth Lane, Gatlinburg Daily Post Staff Writer