T.R. Councilman: Remember the Real Meaning of Memorial Day
The unofficial beginning of summer is right around the corner – Memorial Day weekend.
While many people see it as an extra day off, a time to relax with family and friends and enjoy a barbecue or day at the beach, the real meaning behind the long weekend is to honor those who died during military service to our country.
Memorial Day, which is celebrated every year on the final Monday of May, was formerly known as Decoration Day and originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all men and women who died in any war or military action.
In 1968, the Uniform Holidays Bill was passed as part of a move to use federal holidays to create three-day weekends. Since 1971, Memorial Day has been officially observed on the last Monday in May. However, it took several years for all states to recognize the new date.
On Memorial Day, the flag of the United States is raised to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day. The half-staff position remembers the men and women who gave their lives in service of their country. At noon, the flag is raised in their memory.
Memorial Day is a federal holiday. All non-essential Government offices are closed, as are schools, businesses and other organizations.
Many people visit cemeteries and memorials and volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries.
This Memorial Day, let's take time to recognize those who have given all for our freedom. Instead of celebrating a day off, I ask all Toms River residents to take an hour out of their day and join us for a special parade and ceremony to honor and remember those who have fought and died for our freedom.
2014 is a special year in Toms River. This year marks the 80th consecutive Memorial Day parade and ceremonies in the Township. I invite you to join us on Monday, May 26, at 9:30 am for the Memorial Day parade down Main Street in Toms River, starting at the Office Lounge parking lot and heading downtown. The parade will conclude with a ceremony on the steps of Town Hall. We are proud to partner with American Legion George P. Vanderveer Post 129 to present this day of remembrance.
The ceremony is an opportunity for Toms River residents to take a moment and say thank you. Memorial Day gives us a unique opportunity to not only honor the dead but to pause and recognize those veterans still with us. We must never forget the heroism displayed by all of Toms River’s soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. For that, we owe those who have and are currently serving in the Armed Forces our gratitude, honor, recognition and support, not only on Memorial Day but, every day.