Unite in Honoring Our Fallen Heroes this Memorial Day
Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States that honors and mourns the U.S. military personnel who have died while serving in the United States armed forces. It is observed on the last Monday of May, which is **May 29** for 2023. Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day and originated in the years following the Civil War. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. It is also considered the unofficial beginning of the summer season.
As for Decoration Day, it was the original name for Memorial Day in the United States. According to some sources, **May 30, 1868** was chosen as the original date for Decoration Day because it was not the anniversary of any particular battle and because flowers would be in bloom nationwide. The holiday was proclaimed by **Commander in Chief John A. Logan** of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union Civil War veterans, in 1868. He wanted to honor the Union soldiers who had died in the war by decorating their graves with flowers and flags.
The Confederate states did not observe Decoration Day along with the Union states. Instead, they had their own days of remembrance for their war dead, often called **Confederate Memorial Day**, **Confederate Heroes Day**, or **Confederate Decoration Day**. These days are still observed in some Southern states, such as Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina. They are observed on different dates in different states, often in April, May, or June. The observances usually involve placing flowers and flags on the graves of Confederate soldiers, as well as holding ceremonies and parades.
The name Memorial Day was first used in 1882 but became more common after World War II. In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a federal holiday and moved its observance to the last Monday of May. On this day we honor and mourn all U.S. military personnel who have died while serving in the United States armed forces. This includes prisoners of war (POWs) who died in captivity or after their release. Additionally, there is a National POW/MIA Recognition Day observed on the third Friday of September each year, which honors those who were prisoners of war and those who are still missing in action.
While Memorial Day does not include political prisoners who die in captivity, unless they were also members of the U.S. military, there is a separate day to commemorate political prisoners and their struggles, called the **International Day of Political Prisoners**, which is observed on **October 30**. This date was chosen because it was the day when the first Soviet political prisoners were released in 1976 under an amnesty granted by Leonid Brezhnev. The day was originally marked by hunger strikes and protests by political prisoners and dissidents in the Soviet Union and other countries. In 2023, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution recognizing October 30 as the International Day of Political Prisoners and calling for the release of all political prisoners around the world.
Political prisoners are people who are imprisoned for their political beliefs, activities, or affiliations, often by oppressive regimes or authoritarian governments. Today we have thousands of our brothers rotting away in jails and prisons… political prisoners of a authoritarian regime that has taken control of our once free nation. So, while you are celebrating this weekend, say a prayer for them and their families as well.
God Bless and Have a Great Weekend