This Memorial Day, we at Buckfire Law remember the fallen heroes who fought to protect the very laws we uphold in our office every day. We want to thank them for their service and honor their ultimate sacrifice.
This year, amidst the barbecues and lake days, we want to take some time to remember why the holiday was created in the first place. To get in this kind of holiday spirit, here are some interesting tidbits you may not have known about Memorial Day:
- Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day, and it was enacted by General John Logan in May 1868
- May 30th was originally chosen as the date for the holiday because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle
- The holiday was borne out of the Civil War as a way to honor our dead, and it wasn’t until after World War I that the holiday changed to honor Americans who died fighting in any war, not just the Civil War
- It is a tradition, started in 1915 by Moina Michael, to wear red poppies on Memorial Day to honor those who died in war
Observing Memorial Day
While many Americans attend parades or watch fireworks on Memorial Day, there are other, more traditional ways to observe the holiday.
- The Flag – On Memorial Day, the American flag is raised quickly, then solemnly lowered to half-staff position. It remains at half-staff until noon, then is raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day. The half-staff symbolizes the act of remembering and mourning the fallen heroes, and then at noon, their memory is “raised by the living.” By raising the flag, we resolve to not let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.
- Cemetaries – When Memorial Day was started by General John Logan, he proclaimed that the day should be “designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country.” Thus, another traditional observance is to visit cemetaries and place flags or flowers on the graves of lost soldiers. Many private citizens observe the holiday in this way, but there are also more public observances of this nature:
- At Arlington National Cemetary, on the Thursday before Memorial Day 1,200 soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry place small American flags at over 260,000 gravestones. They then patrol the cemetary 24 hours a day for the course of the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing.
- The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts organizations place flags and/or candles on graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetary and Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park, totaling almost 200,000 graves where respects are paid.
- National Moment of Remembrance – In 2000, the “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed in order to help reaffirm the true meaning of Memorial Day. At 3 p.m. local time across the country, all Americans are asked to “voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of Remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to Taps.”
Memorial Day Events in Michigan
There are also events going on throughout the state of Michigan to celebrate the holiday, whether traditionally or non-traditionally. These are all a great opportunity to combine the meaning of the day with fun and relaxation for your whole family.
- Memorial Day Parade – Attend a parade in cities and towns throughout Michigan. Here are just some of the locations where you can find a parade:
- Royal Oak
- Madison Heights
- Rochester/Rochester Hills
- Auburn Hills
- Saint Joseph
- Harbor Beach
- Memorial Day Service – Services can also be found across the state, and they usually include a presentation of colors, military salutes, playing of Taps, decoration of monuments, as well as live music and other activities. Here are a few locations listed as having Memorial Day services:
- Grosse Pointe
- Field of Flags Memorial – River Raisin National Battlefield Park will host the third annual Field of Flags Memorial, where visitors can view hundreds of American flags flying over the battlefield park and attend a Memorial Service on Sunday, May 28.
- Civil War Re-enactments – Greenfield Village in Dearborn will be holding Civil War Remembrance and the annual Branch County Civil War Days will be held in Coldwater. Both events will feature reenactors in period dress, military drills and artillery demonstrations, battle reenactments, and other activities.
- Minor League Baseball – Celebrate Memorial Day with America’s favorite pastime! The Traverse City Beach Bums are playing at home all weekend, and the Lansing Lugnuts are playing at home against the Great Lakes Loons.
- Fireworks – You’ll be able to find red, white, & blue fireworks displays all across the state, but here are a few locations to add to your list:
Stay Safe This Memorial Day Weekend
With all of these fun activities going on throughout the state this weekend, we at Buckfire Law want to wish everyone a fun and safe holiday.
If you’re soaking up the sun on the lake or at the pool, make sure to practice water safety. Whether you’re watching a fireworks display in your town or your own backyard, remember to keep a safe distance away from the explosions. There may also be increased traffic on the roads and a greater number of pedestrians in your town. Make sure to be aware on the sidewalk and behind the wheel.
If you are injured in an accident this weekend, we are here to help. We handle personal injury cases of all kinds, including car accidents, pedestrian accidents, and recreational accidents.