From the Spanish-American War, to World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, War against Islamic Terror, and to the present, all who sacrificed their lives to preserve America’s religious freedom are honored on Memorial Day. As a result of their bloodshed, Americans must stand up for their First Amendment rights and not allow the government overreach that is happening today.
One of the first documented sites to hold a tribute to those who died in the Civil War took place in Columbus, Mississippi on April 25, 1866. A group of women who were placing flowers on the graves of Confederate soldiers. They noticed the destitute graves of the Union soldiers and also decorated their graves with flowers.
On May 5, 1868, Major General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union Veterans, set aside May 30th as Decoration Day to commemorate fallen soldiers by adorning their graves with flowers. That year, 5,000 gathered at Arlington National Cemetery for the nation’s first major tribute to those who died in the Civil War. Small American flags were placed on each grave, a tradition that continues today.
By the end of the 19th century, the observance of May 30th as a day to honor the Civil War dead had become a widespread practice across the nation, but after World War I, the tribute was expanded to include all American military men and women who had died in any war. Memorial Day has been acknowledged as a national holiday since 1971, when an Act of Congress established its observance on the last Monday in May.
Beginning in 1921, every president has placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. The tomb is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The number 21 is the highest salute so the sentry takes 21 steps, faces the tomb for 21 seconds, turns and pauses 21 seconds, then retraces his steps. Inscribed on the tomb is the phrase: “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.”
In his 1923 Memorial Address, President Calvin Coolidge said, “There can be no peace with the forces of evil. Peace comes only through the establishment of the supremacy of the forces of good. That way lies through sacrifice. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
In 2000, Congress passed the “National Moment of Remembrance Act,” asking all Americans to pause at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence in remembrance of all those who have died in military service to America.
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “We must remember the price of freedom. We cannot give up freedom for the crumbs of security. We must stand with pastors who are being charged with ‘disorderly conduct’ for opening their churches. We must stand against government overreach that rules by executive order while flaunting the Constitution. We must honor the heroes who fought for freedom by standing with the heroes today who fight against domestic government tyranny.”