The True Meaning of Memorial Day

Today I’d like to take an opportunity to reflect upon the history and meaning behind one of our nation’s most important holidays- Memorial Day.  Memorial Day, originally referred to as Decoration Day to describe the graves decorated to honor fallen soldiers during the Civil War, was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic.  General Logan had likely been inspired by the many gatherings and events planned independently across the country as a way to honor the hundreds of thousands of soldiers who had lost their lives during the Civil War.

The first official observance of the holiday was on May 30th, 1868 when flowers were placed on Confederate and Union soldiers’ graves at Arlington National Cemetery.  In the years that followed, both northern and southern states adopted this date as a time to come together and remember those that gave their lives to protect the freedoms we still enjoy today.  With the passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971, Memorial Day is now celebrated around the country on the last Monday in May.

I’ve heard it said before that freedom is not free.  Memorial Day reminds us of this truth.  Countless Americans have given their lives in the name of freedom since that first Memorial Day back in 1868.  While we have come to recognize Memorial Day weekend as the official start to summer and welcome it in with some of our favorite American pastimes- cookouts, baseball games, and family gatherings by the pool- I encourage you to pause and remember the real meaning behind Memorial Day this year.  We owe it to the men and women that have given their lives to never forget the incredible sacrifice they made for our country while serving in the armed forces.

Join me today at 3:00 p.m. for the “National Moment of Remembrance,” a time to pause, reflect, and remember the ultimate sacrifice made by those that gave their lives for our country and the values and principles it stands for.

I am grateful for the opportunity to serve you and the state of Georgia in the State Senate.  Please continue to reach out to me with your ideas of how we can continue to make Georgia a place where families and businesses thrive.  To our veterans and soldiers that are currently serving in the US and around the world, thank you.  Your commitment to defend and protect the principles and beliefs of this nation and the freedom it offers is truly inspiring.  Happy Memorial Day and God bless. 

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

John 15:13

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    Senator Bill Heath

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