We observe Memorial Day each year on the last Monday in May as a remembrance of those individuals who died in active military service. Although Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day, its purpose has evolved and expanded over the past 150 years.
The History of Memorial Day
On May 30, 1868, the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of veteran Union soldiers in Illinois, established the first known celebration of Decoration Day, a day that honored Union soldiers who died during the American Civil War. The unofficial holiday soon caught on and expanded to other areas, with many in the South also holding their own Decoration Day celebrations that recognized Confederate soldiers.
For decades afterwards, Decoration Day was celebrated each year on May 30, but the day’s name gradually shifted over time from Decoration Day to Memorial Day — although Memorial Day didn’t become the more common name until after World War II and only became the official name in 1967. In addition, the competing Union and Confederate Decoration Day celebrations gradually merged and recognized all U.S. soldiers who gave their lives in service as bad blood from the Civil War slowly subsided and World Wars I and II created many new casualties among the U.S. Armed Forces.
Finally, on June 28, 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which moved four holidays, including Memorial Day and Veterans Day, from their traditional dates to a specified Monday in order to effectively create three-day weekends around these holidays (the other two holidays, George Washington’s birthday and Columbus Day, are less commonly observed today).
In addition to Memorial Day, May is also National Military Appreciation Month, which continues the theme of gratitude toward all military branches during the month.
National Military Appreciation Month
National Military Appreciation Month honors the men and women who serve our country. Within the month are several national observances to recognize members of the military, their families, and other public servants, including:
- Loyalty Day: Affirms the public’s loyalty to the United States.
- Public Service Recognition Week: Recognizes those who play an active role in federal, state, county, and local governments.
- Military Spouse Appreciation Day: Recognizes military spouses and families who play an active role in supporting the Armed Forces at home and abroad.
- Armed Forces Day: Celebrates all individuals serving in each military branch: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, and Navy.
- Memorial Day: Remembers service members who died in active military service.
The Military in San Antonio
With the observance of Memorial Day and National Military Appreciation Month, the month of May is very important in San Antonio. For almost 300 years, the city of San Antonio has had a constant and reliable presence military presence. In fact, the city is sometimes referred to as “Military City, USA,” and San Antonio is proud of its large population of active and retired military personnel and veterans.
As a military city, San Antonio residents know from firsthand experience how important the military is to everyday life. For example, the city’s military presence changes and shapes the way we approach medicine and healthcare, highway infrastructure, and education locally and nationally.
In addition, the military is one of the largest driving forces behind the San Antonio economy. In 2011 alone (the most recent year data was compiled), the economic impact of the military on the San Antonio economy was $27.7 billion. This sizeable economic output includes direct military spending, indirect spending by military contractors and suppliers, and induced spending by personnel and retirees using money from paychecks or benefit checks around San Antonio.
Overall, the military helps keep the San Antonio economy moving and touches almost every aspect of the local economy; military servicemembers attend educational institutions, consume goods, advance technology, increase tourism, create stable jobs for skilled workers, and, ultimately and most importantly, protect and serve our country.
Crosley Law Firm Thanks Our Veterans, Active Servicemembers, and Soldiers Who Made the Ultimate Sacrifice
The attorneys at Crosley Law Firm would like to wish everyone a safe Memorial Day weekend and offer our gratitude to the men and women of our United States military—including active duty, veterans, and retired—for your service to our country and for the freedoms we enjoy. We also offer our sincerest gratitude to fallen members of our military who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving the United States as well as our thoughts and condolences to their families and friends.
Pack, W. (2012, November 9). Military is S.A.’s major business. My San Antonio. Retrieved from http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/military/article/Military-is-S-A-s-major-business-4021795.php
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.
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