Why Memorial Day is Important

Today, many Americans will take to the road as they travel to various vacation spots. Some will travel to visit family, others will enjoy amusement parks and baseball games. While most everyone will understand that it is Memorial Day weekend, many others will not know what the holiday is all about or why memorial day is important.

Memorial Day is about remembering the sacrifices made by American military personnel and their families in making the country the superpower that it is, and for maintaining the freedoms that define our culture. Indeed, people know about the acts of heroism and strength directly after a conflict, but as those memories fade, so does the appreciation of those efforts.

As such, Memorial Day serves as an annual event to keep those memories alive, and continue the traditions of appreciation for people who serve our country.

Originally named “Decoration Day” to remember the Union and Confederate forces who perished during the Civil War, the holiday continued to honor veterans of armed conflicts. It was officially enacted as a federal holiday in 1971.

Memorial Day becomes especially important for remembering those who were injured in their method of service, because they often are left without voices (or power) to change their situation. This notion is especially important given the delays veterans often encounter when applying for disability benefits (more than 800,000 claims are backlogged as of this writing). While much has been made about the betrayal this signifies to those who give their lives protecting our country, much more work is needed to correct this.

Source: SFGate.com, Disabled Veterans National Foundation calls for Memorial Day remembrance, May 23, 2013.