A day to celebrate America’s freedoms

Memorial Day programs will be held in Minot and other communities in North Dakota and across the country to honor and remember those who have – and are – fighting for our freedoms.

Most of the programs will be held on Monday. A few are held on other days. The White Shield community on the Fort Berthold Reservation always holds its Memorial Day service on the traditional day, May 30.

Many celebrate Memorial Day weekend as a time to kick off the summer months and get together with family and friends. At its heart, Memorial Day is a day to honor the many men and women who have given their lives in the U.S. military to fight for our freedoms.

It’s also a good idea on this day to honor everyone who has served or is currently serving in the U.S. armed forces, whether in the U.S. or globally.

More than 155 years ago – on May 5, 1868 – three years after the Civil War ended, the head of an organization of Union veterans, the Grand Army of the Republic, established what was called Decoration Day. This was a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared it should be May 30. It is believed the date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country. By the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held on May 30 throughout the nation.

After World War I, the day was expanded to honor those who died in all American wars.

In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day as a national holiday, although it was still often called Decoration Day, and it was placed on the last Monday in May.

Nearly 23 years ago, in December 2000, Congress passed and the president signed into law an act to ensure the sacrifices of America’s fallen heroes are never forgotten, creating the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance. This encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation.

“It’s a way we can all help put the memorial back in Memorial Day,” said Moment of Remembrance founder and longtime advocate for veterans Carmella LaSpada.

So on this Memorial Day when the clock turns to 3 p.m. local time, take a minute to pause to honor those who have given their lives for our freedoms and think of others who have served or currently are serving in the U.S. armed forces and fighting for our freedoms.


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