While Memorial Day allows most Americans a three-day weekend, it's really a solemn day meant to remember those who have given their lives for our freedom.

How Did Memorial Day Get Started?

Memorial day is not about barbecues and the unofficial start of summer. According to History.com, Memorial Day began as a nationwide day of remembrance following the Civil War. In 1868, General John A. Logan said,

The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.

Andersonville Cemetery Decorated with Flags
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That is why originally it was known as Decoration Day. Also, while it was originally started as a day to remember the lives lost in the Civil War it has evolved into a day set aside to remember all men and women who have given their lives in defense of our country.

It was in 1968 that Congress passed the Unifrom Monday Holiday Act which officially made Memorial Day the last Monday in May so that it would end up being a three-day weekend for federal employees. In 1971 it was officially declared a federal holiday.

Unknown Soldier
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While for many people Memorial Day is a day off and a day to celebrate for so many others it is a day to remember their family and friends who have given everything for their country.

To keep this in perspective, the following is an extremely moving video from the United States Air Force Band in Washington D.C. This will touch your soul. It truly drives home the real meaning of this day.

It truly is a way to remember those who "have given their last measure of devotion" to their country. To the family and friends who mourn the loss of their loved ones, to the men and women who continue to physically fight, and to those who battle from scars we will never see, may God bless and keep you. We all salute you for the sacrifices you and your families have made.

Fallen Comrade Table
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You might have seen the Fallen Comrade Table, but what is the symbolism behind this?

A white table cloth is chosen to represent the pureness of a military member's intentions.

The rose is to symbolize the blood that the service member has shed in service to our country.

The slice of lemon represents the bitter fate of the missing service member.

The salt on the bread plate is representative of all the tears of the family members.

The upside-down glass represents the missing or fallen who aren't there to participate.

A cable is lit to represent the light of hope for those who are missing that it may light their way home.

The empty chair represents a member who is missing or has fallen.