Honor the Fallen on Memorial Day

The unofficial start of summer is here and the celebrating is underway. TV commercials are busy touting Memorial Day sales, bathing suits and barbecues. It’s easy to forget the real meaning of Memorial Day: remembering and honoring every U.S. soldier that has given his or her life to secure our freedom. Let’s help keep the solemnity of the day by educating ourselves a bit on Memorial Day.

The earliest commemoration dates back to 1865 and the end of the Civil War when a group of roughly 1,000 people consisting predominantly of recently freed slaves gathered to honor and consecrate the burial site of hundreds of perished Union soldiers.

In May 1868, General John A. Logan, leader of the Union veteran’s group called the Grand Army of the Republic, declared that May 30 should be a national day designated to honor the 620,000 soldiers killed in the Civil War. He called it Decoration Day because he suggested that people decorate and lay flowers on the graves of those fallen soldiers. Although Decoration Day quickly became an annual tradition across the country, it wasn’t until 1971 that it became an official federal holiday, renamed Memorial Day, recognizing the roughly 1.1 million U.S. soldiers who have lost their lives in service.

The history of Memorial Day is worth learning more about. A great place to start is USMemorialDay.org and 8 Things You May Not Know About Memorial Day on History.com.

In addition to telling the story, we can also commemorate the holiday by participating in local parades that honor our current military members and veterans. This visible and enthusiastic show of support for our military helps everyone embrace the importance and the sacrifice of their service.

A tangible way to support our troops is to start a drive collecting goods to benefit military members and their families. Organizations like Operation Support Our Troops America exist purely to offer this kind of support. The mission of Operation Support Our Troops America is “to support the morale and well-being of American forces by providing comfort, resources and education to them and their families both while they are deployed in harm’s way and after their return.”

Consider starting a YouGiveGoods drive to benefit Operation Support Our Troops America or any other charity supporting the military. It is simple and you can enlist the support of your friends and family online to make a real difference in the lives of those who are sacrificing daily for our safety and freedom.

A quick way you can make a tangible show of support to our military families is by purchasing goods for donation to a military drive. Shop our current YouGiveGoods military drives and purchase much-needed goods online. All goods will be shipped directly to Operation Support Our Troops America at the close of the drives. We know it is a busy weekend, but this purchase will take only minutes.

SHOP CDW's Care Package Drive benefiting Operation Support Our Troops America

SHOP Shelves Are Empty but Troops Still in Need benefiting Operation Support Our Troops America

Finally, perhaps the most profound way to show our gratitude for those who made the ultimate sacrifice is to work everyday to uphold the unique and founding qualities of our country. By embracing and celebrating the diversity of the American people, showing strength and compassion at home and abroad, and celebrating life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we do our part to uphold the values that so many laid down their lives to protect.

Happy Memorial Day from YouGiveGoods.

Photo/Image Credits: USMemorialDay.org and Operation Support Our Troops America

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