“What Memorial Day Means To Me?”

           Originally, this holiday became recognized “an occasion to decorate the graves of Civil War soldiers” and became known as Decoration Day. Years later, its name was changed to Memorial Day to remember all fallen military from American Wars.

           To me, Memorial Day inspires a true sense of gratefulness because of all the men and women who have sacrificed their lives in service to our country. Because of their willingness to make such a sacrifice, our lives and freedoms have been protected.

           I appreciate the meaning of Memorial Day, especially because of my grandfathers and my father. Fortunately, their lives were spared during wartime. My grandfathers served honorably in World War II. My father is a 20-year veteran who began serving after college graduation in 1972 – the Vietnam era. I have spoken with him about the years of being “on alert” waiting to “authenticate orders” to launch, especially during the Cold War years. I feel a special sense of pride when I see his United States Air Force uniforms in the closet.

           In May of 2002, my parents and I traveled to New York City. My sister was graduating from college during Memorial Day week. This was only nine months after the 9/11 attack upon our nation. A threat had been made to attack the Brooklyn Bridge on that Memorial Day weekend. My father thought that as patriotic Americans, we should join a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. While in my stroller, and my parents on foot, we safely crossed the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan to Brooklyn.

           Much has been explained to me about Memorial Day and the importance of honoring those who have worn the uniform of the United Stated, and had given their lives in the line of duty. Remembering their bravery, being patriotic, and respecting the National Monument of Remembrance of their sacrifices, are a big part of what Memorial Day means to me!

Works Cited:

Memorial Day. (2009, January 1). History.com. Retrieved April 25, 2014, from http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/memorial-day-history.

 News. (n.d). Time For Kids. Retrieved April 28, 2014, from http://wwwtimeforkids.com/news/meaning-memorial-day/.

 Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs.(n.d.). Memorial Day History -. Retrieved April 26, 2014, from http://www.va.gov/opa/speceven/memday/history.asp.

Maj. Craig Johnson, USAF Ret. (personal interview). April 27, 2014

Second Place Runner-Up in the Middle School Division winning was….

Erik Johnson!




You can read Erik’s prize winning essay below...