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Changing the date of Memorial Day just to create a three-day weekend has weakened the day's meaning. As the VFW stated in its 2002 Memorial Day address: "Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed greatly to the general public's nonchalant observance of Memorial Day."
We support the bill introduced by Senator Hanabusa which restores the traditional day of observance of Memorial Day to 30 May.
Please help convince Congress to pass this bill.
Memorial Day used to be a solemn day of mourning, a sacred day of remembrance to honor those who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms. Businesses closed for the day. Towns held parades honoring the fallen, the parade routes often times ending at a local cemetery, where Memorial Day speeches were given and prayers offered up. People took the time that day to clean and decorate with flowers and flags the graves of those the fell in service to their country.
"Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic." -- General Logan - May 5, 1868
That traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished, even forgotten, over the years. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Instead of using Memorial Day as a time to honor and reflect on the sacrifices made by Americans in combat, many Americans use the day as a celebration of the beginning of summer and a time for car sales, mattress sales, and car races. Most people no longer even remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. And too many of those parades take on the character of a Mardi Gras parade. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.
What is needed to return the solemn, and even sacred, spirit back to Memorial Day is a return to its traditional day of observance. Many feel that when Congress made the day into a three-day weekend in with the National Holiday Act of 1971, it made it all the easier for people to be distracted from the spirit and meaning of the day. As the VFW stated in its 2002 Memorial Day address: "Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed greatly to the general public's nonchalant observance of Memorial Day."
On Memorial Day we need to stop and pay with sincere conviction our respects for those who died protecting and preserving the freedoms we enjoy, for we owe those honored dead more than we can ever repay. Set aside one day out of the year for the nation to get together to remember and reflect, to maintain and decorate the graves of the fallen, and as Gen Logan stated in 1868, "renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation's gratitude, the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan."
To keep the number of three-day Federal Holidays the same, Armed Forces day, the third weekend of every May, could easily become a three-day holiday. On that holiday we can celebrate our freedoms won and maintained by our Armed Forces - a three-day holiday to focus on our active duty men and women in uniform and to expressively show them our love and support. That is the better day for celebrating the onset of summer, car and mattress sales, picnics, car races, and party parades, with active U.S. armed forces members as guests of honor - celebrating their service, the protection they give us. Leave Memorial Day as a solemn day of remembrance, as a holy day.
We, the undersigned, support your efforts to return Memorial Day back to its traditional day of observance and strongly request Congress to support your efforts as well.