Sunday, May 27, 2012
Why do we honor our fallen?
Long before Memorial Day came to pass, during the American Civil War women in both the north and south would often decorate the graves of fallen soldiers. In 1868 this practice of laying wreaths on soldiers’ graves became formalized by military proclamation called Decoration Day on which flowers were laid on Union and Confederate graves buried at Arlington National Cemetery. It was declared every May 30 this should be done. (Now it is observed as the last Monday of May.) New York was the first state to officially recognize this holiday in 1873, but it wasn’t until after World War I that every state began to observe this day to remember all the fallen soldiers from any war, not just the U.S. Civil War.
Today, many view this day as the unofficial start of summer in addition to remembering our lost freedom fighters. It’s a day for family and friends to gather together, mostly outside over food. It’s a day for frivolity and festivities beyond remembrance, but at the core is the pride in knowing the U.S. enjoys many freedoms. It’s a day where on any given street you’ll see multiple U.S. flags waving in the breeze. It’s a day when the old patriotic songs are sung again and feelings of American pride are strong.
So, the next time you hear a patriotic Nigerian song or Arise O Compatriots think about what that means and all those who have lost their lives for Nigeria. Create your own Memorial Day if you will for their and your own love of country.
Posted by U.S. Embassy Nigeria at 8:37 AM