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The meaning behind Memorial Day

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - In 1868, a Civil War veteran, General Logan ordered for the graves of service members who died on duty to be decorated with flowers and wreaths alongside their families.

Senior Vice Commander, Walt Blakesley says honoring fallen soldiers doesn’t require much other than a few moments of silence.

“It’s a time to remember, to honor, to think about those individuals that have been in our communities that we’ve known, to think about those individuals who were members of our family that have gone on ahead of us, the sacrifices they have made for our country,” said Blakesly.

Blakesly says some have confused honoring Memorial Day with celebrating it instead.

“I’ve had a lot of people tell me, “Happy Memorial Day” and you know it’s not really a time to be happy," said Blakesly. "It’s a time to reflect on what has transpired in this country from the days of the Revolution on through even to today even when we’ve had Americans killed over in Ukraine.”

There are multiple days throughout the year to honor service members and Blakesley describes the true meaning of a few.

“There’s three holidays people really get kinda confused about. Number one being Armed Forces Day, that’s a day set aside to honor those who are currently wearing the uniform. Memorial Day is a day to remember those who died, but never got out of uniform and they died in their uniform," said Blakesly. "And then Veteran’s Day in, of course, November is to pay tribute to those individuals who, you know, were able to hang up their uniform. Not knowing whether we would need it again or not, but if we needed to we’d put it on and go back in.”

What used to be "Decoration Day," but now Memorial Day was first observed back in 1868 after the Civil War.

On May 30th at 3 p.m. local time, it will be The National Moment of Remembrance where you can honor soldiers who died on duty with a moment of silence.

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Jacqueline Aguilar

Jacqueline Aguilar was born and raised in Yuma, Arizona. The University of Arizona 2021 graduate started working her first professional newsroom job at KYMA in January 2022.
Contact Jacqueline at jacqueline.aguilar@kecytv.com.

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