Memorial day

Honoring Memorial Day’s Origins and Purpose

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Memorial Day 2021 will occur on Monday, May 31.

Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War as a way to honor Civil War deaths before evolving into a day to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars. In 1971, it became an official federal holiday.

While Memorial Day is often seen as the unofficial start of summer, it can also be a day of remembrance and reflection. “I know that most people view Memorial Day as a time to honor those service members who lost their lives while fighting for our country,” said Abiola Ashorobi, Navy veteran and co-chair of the Veterans Employee Resource Group (VERG), “however I tend to view it another way. I reflect on our fallen service members but also take the time to appreciate the active service members who are currently ensuring we all enjoy the freedoms that we have become so accustomed to. I find that watching old and newer war movies helps me to recognize and honor all service members on Memorial Day.”

Jason Bush, an Air Force veteran and fellow VERG co-chair, shared his thoughts about this Memorial Day. “I've had the honor of serving in the Honor Guard at Memorial Day ceremonies in the Air Force and in the Veterans of Foreign Wars. I've also had the privilege of marching in a Remembrance Day parade alongside our British allies in England and in ramp ceremonies when soldiers died serving in Iraq. As we look forward with hope of restored freedom and joy with the coming summer that begins this Memorial Day weekend, I invite you to take some time to reflect on veterans or loved ones who are no longer with us and pray that a pause for remembrance brings you the same solace and peace that it does for me.”

Below are some options for honoring and remembering on Memorial Day.

Sunday, May 30:

8 p.m. - National Memorial Day Concert

Monday May 31:

10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - USS Hornet Museum, Alameda CA

9 a.m. - Marin County Memorial Day Services

3 p.m - National Moment of Remembrance

In addition, many local cemeteries hold special services on Memorial Day.

Are you a veteran or supporter of veterans? The Veterans Employee Resource Group is open to all employees, veteran or civilian.

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