The real meaning of Memorial Day Weekend is often overlooked as families travel on vacation together and kicking off the summer holidays. Remember our U.S. Military this #MemorialDay weekend and honor our soldiers.
The Real Purpose of Memorial Day
It’s the unofficial start to the summer. School is out (or almost out). People open beach houses. Launch boats for the first time in the season. Road trip to campgrounds in celebration of the arrival of the warm weather. But Memorial Day was not created to give Americans another 3-day weekend. The real purpose of Memorial Day is to remember the sacrifices of the men and women who gave their lives in service to our country.
Memorial Day, an American holiday observed on the last Monday of May, honors men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, at least, it marks the beginning of summer.
Fort McPherson National Cemetery, Nebraska
Take some time this Memorial Day weekend — and every day — to remember our fallen heroes, military vets of today and yesterday. On a motorcycle road trip to Nebraska, my friend and I stopped at Fort McPherson National Cemetery, located at Exit 190 15 minutes east of North Platte on I-80.
Established in 1863, the original fort provided protection for the westward trails and the building of the railroad. Established on March 3, 1873, remains from 23 frontier forts were reinterred at the Fort McPherson National Cemetery.
This is Nebraska’s only National Cemetery. Fort McPherson is the final resting place of veterans of the Spanish-American War, Indian Wars, World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War and Iraq. Four Medal of Honor recipients rest here. Three served during the Indian Wars. One served in Vietnam.
What is the Meaning of Military Taps
My friend and I stood silent, along with a dozen or so other spectators, with a backdrop of thousands of tombstones. We were honored to listen to a military bugler play Taps for us.
Remembering that the first burial was in 1867, the 24 notes of military taps pierced the May sky. White tombstones stood tall and proud, and we read as many as we could. But the brief etchings was nothing compared to the sacrifices made by these servicemen and women.
Fort McPherson National Cemetery is a reflection of the people who settled the American West, from traders and trappers, settlers and miners to the first transcontinental railroad.
Did You Know? Each year on Memorial Day a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.
The last call of the day, military taps signals unauthorized lights to be extinguished. The call is also sounded at the completion of a military funeral ceremony. Take a moment, watch this video, and let the 24 notes of the Taps melody wash over you. Remember those who have served and given the ultimate sacrifice, their life for our freedom.
Remember Our U.S. Military! My grandfathers, my father, my uncles, and my niece have all served in the military. Thank you for your service.