This month, we observe Memorial Day to honor and remember the brave men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. It is a day to pay tribute to their sacrifice and express gratitude for their service. I want to take a moment to talk about the history of Memorial Day and to share some ways we can all show our respect on this day.
Memorial Day originated in the aftermath of the Civil War and was initially known as Decoration Day. It became a federal holiday in 1971 and is now observed on the last Monday in May to honor those who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
Late May was selected because, all across America, flowers would be in bloom, allowing loved ones to choose the best flowers to lay on the graves of fallen Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen.
You can show respect on Memorial Day by going to a national cemetery or war memorial, putting flowers or flags on the graves of veterans, going to a local parade or ceremony, or simply taking a moment of silence to honor those who have died in service to their country.
Another way to show your respect is by sharing the story of a fallen hero. By telling their stories, it ensures that their legacy lives on and that future generations will remember the sacrifices made by these brave men and women.
This concept of all Americans coming together on this day is so powerful that in December 2000, the United States Congress passed, and the president signed into law "The National Moment of Remembrance Act." This law set up the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance to make sure that the sacrifices of America's fallen heroes are never forgotten.
The commission's mission is to "encourage the people of the United States to give something back to their country, which provides them so much freedom and opportunity." The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation.
So, I hope that this Memorial Day, you will join with me and your fellow Americans in taking this time to reflect on the sacrifices made by our brave men and women in uniform and to express our gratitude for their service and dedication to our country.