Editorial: Memorial Day

Trumbull manages to get it’s celebration of the Memorial Day holiday just right. Not only is the long weekend a time when the community comes together to kick off the summer season, but it’s also filled with the perfect balance of solemnity and fun.

The national holiday commemorating the nation’s fallen military members falls on Monday, May 26, this year. On that day, Trumbull Town Hall, the Trumbull Library System, the post office, and all schools are closed, as are the Trumbull Times’ offices.

Memorial Day has a distinct purpose different from Veterans Day, the November holiday that honors all those who have served in the U.S. military — both living and dead.

Memorial Day originally was called Decoration Day, and always has been a day of observance to remember and honor those who died while in the armed services.

It began in the late 1860s as observances were held to remember those killed during the Civil War. Residents of Waterloo, N.Y., and women’s groups in the South played prominent roles in starting what would later become an official national holiday.

The first official Memorial Day was proclaimed in 1868 by Gen. John Logan, commander of the Grand Army of the Republic; on May 30 of that year, flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

In the coming decades, individual northern states began recognizing Memorial Day as a state holiday. Southern states were more reluctant to do so until after World War I, when the holiday’s purpose was altered to begin recognizing those killed in all wars, not just the Civil War.

In 1971, a federal law moved the observance of Memorial Day from May 30 to the last Monday in May, part of legislation designed to create three-day weekends.

To help remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, Congress passed the National Moment of Remembrance resolution in 2000, asking that at 3 p.m. local time all citizens “voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a moment of remembrance and respect.”

The town of Trumbull celebrates the holiday in many ways, designed both to honor those who died in service to their country and to celebrate the freedoms Americans enjoy. The day begins with a ceremony at the Vietnam War Memorial on White Plains Road at 8 a.m., followed by the Memorial Day Ceremony on the Town Hall Green at 8:45, and the parade kick-off at 10 a.m., in front of the Long Hill Green. The earlier parade start time began last year and gives families a chance to honor those who served, and spend the afternoon with family and friends.

All Trumbullites are encouraged to be part of the town’s wonderfully celebratory way of honoring, thanking, and remembering those who died in service to this great country.