A Memorial Day Guide to Gratitude

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In the United States, the last Monday of May is a federal holiday, Memorial Day.

On May 25, 2020, national offices will be closed as we celebrate Memorial Day and give thanks for our freedom.

This is a special time when we honor the memories of those who have given up their lives in defense of our country.

What is Memorial Day?

Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day. It was first established on May 5, 1886, three years after the Civil War ended.

Essentially, it was called Decoration Day because it was a time for the nation to remember those who had died in that war by decorating their burial sites with flowers. The day was probably chosen because flowers are in full bloom at that time of the year.

After World War I, the focus of the day was expanded to include all who have died in American wars. Then an act of Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday in 1971. It was then placed on the last Monday in May. 

Memorial Day is a time when we honor the memory of those who fought for our freedom. U.S. military men and women risk their lives every day with the mission of keeping our nation safe.

So, it is only right that we take a moment to remember those who lost their lives doing so.

Freedom Is Not Free

This American expression is engraved on the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. It expresses gratitude to the fallen heroes who gave their lives in defense of freedom.

These brave men and women are the reason we have freedom in America today, and we must never forget it.

As honored citizens of this great country, we must always remember to be grateful and never take life or our freedom for granted.

Some of the freedoms their sacrifice has given us include the following:

  • Freedom of choice 

  • Freedom of expression

  • Freedom of religion

  • Freedom to vote

  • Freedom of speech 

A world without these freedoms would be very different for Americans.  Therefore, we should show our appreciation so that their sacrifice means something.

Take More than a Moment this Memorial Day

This Memorial Day, it’s important to take more than a brief moment to remember those who died for our rights and the protection of our country. Here are a few suggestions on how we can honor the fallen this memorial day: 

1. Join the National Moment of Silence 

In 2000, Congress passed The National Moment of Remembrance Act as a way to honor America’s fallen heroes.

According to this act, Americans have a moment of silence at 3 p.m. local time wherever they are on Memorial Day to remember those in the military who died in the pursuit of freedom and peace.

This is a way to put the memorial back in Memorial Day. 

2. Display the U.S. Flag

You can display the American flag from sunrise to sunset. The union (the blue field) should be uppermost and to the flag’s right.

Flying the American flag is a symbol of the freedom and liberty Americans pledge their allegiance to.

3. Visit a Memorial or Veteran Cemetery 

Many towns have walls of remembrance or military cemeteries within their limits. Make a special visit to the graves and remember those whose names appear at these sites.

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For those service persons buried in civilian cemeteries, there will be a marking on the gravestone that mentions their service to the armed forces. Stop by one of these as a thank-you.

4. Wear Red Poppies

After World War I, a poem by Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae titled “In Flanders Field” gave homage to those who had fallen “beneath the poppies” on the battlefield.

In 1918, a woman named Moina Michael was inspired by this poem and began a two-year-long campaign to have the red poppy declared a national symbol of remembrance.

Then In 1920, the American Legion adopted the red poppy as the official flower to memorialize soldiers who fought and died during the war. Today, we proudly carry on that tradition. 

Gratitude for Our Military

The best way to show honor to the brave men and women who died for our country is to live each day appreciating all that you have. 

  • Be Grateful for Freedom 

  • Be Grateful for Life

  • Be Grateful for your Family

  • Be Grateful for Friends

  • Be Grateful for your Community

  • Be Grateful for the Chance to Get an Education

  • Be Grateful for Purpose and Meaning in Your Work

  • Be Grateful for Opportunity 

  • Be Grateful For Everything Good in Your Life

Support Families Of The Fallen

It is important that we remember not only the fallen soldiers on Memorial Day but their families, as well. Families make great sacrifices when a member enlists.

Whether it’s volunteering, showing compassion, offering financial support, or some other act of kindness, let them know that you appreciate them.

Thank You For Your Service

Whenever you see a military service member in uniform, take a moment to stop and say thank you. Why not buy him or her a cup of coffee? With the sacrifice that these brave men and women make each day, it’s the least we can do. 

At Southern Careers Institute, we help military personnel and their family members have the freedom to find meaningful work. Whether active, reserve, or veteran, we have a program that can help you learn additional skills for your current military position or prepare you for a new and exciting career.

Our training programs are approved for VA funding, and we’d be happy to assist you with military financial program paperwork.   


  • https://www.va.gov/opa/speceven/memday/history.asp
  • https://www.nps.gov/kowa/index.htm
  • https://www.alaforveterans.org/Pause-at-3-p-m–in-unity-on-Memorial-Day/
  • https://vlb.texas.gov/cemeteries/
  • https://www.history.com/news/world-war-i-poppy-remembrance-symbol-veterans-day
  • https://southerncareer.wpengine.com/military-assistance/
  • https://southerncareer.wpengine.com/blog/mycaa-approved-online-programs-in-texas/

Blog Disclaimer: Information stated in this blog is for general information purposes only. SCItexas.edu does not assume or guarantee income earning potential or salary expectations based on the programs offered at Southern Careers Institute. Career and program information stated in this blog does not guarantee that programs and specifics are offered at Southern Careers Institute.

This article was published on: 05/24/20 1:30 AM

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