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The Daily Journal

Location: Vineland, NJ

The Daily Journal (Vineland, Nj) May 26, 2004 Wednesday

Copyright 2004 The Daily Journal (Vineland, NJ)
All Rights Reserved
The Daily Journal (Vineland, NJ)

May 26, 2004 Wednesday

HEADLINE: Remember meaning of Memorial Day

Frank LoBiondo

Memorial Day is perhaps one of the most important holidays in America. It celebrates the sacrifices made by our courageous men and women who have fallen in defense of our nation's liberty. Without these brave Americans, no other holidays would be possible.

This day marks the high price of freedom, and we must not forget to remember the reason behind the holiday. From the Revolutionary War to the present conflict in Iraq, Americans have given their lives to protect the values and freedoms that we cherish today. In honor of these heroes, I encourage everyone to pause during the National Moment of Remembrance as an act of national unity.

The goal of the National Moment of Remembrance is to preserve the original nature of Memorial Day by asking for a moment of silence to remember the many patriots who have fought for our country. The National Moment of Remembrance is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Memorial Day, Monday. It is my hope that this shared memory will help our nation and the families of those who have died fighting for America, and to highlight the importance of service to our communities, our nation and the world.

Memorial Day was originally established in 1868 to honor those killed in the Civil War and to "decorate" their graves with flowers and mementos. The day was celebrated annually on May 30, and was a solemn time for Americans. After World War I, the event was enlarged to honor all Americans in every conflict who have died for our nation. In 1971, Congress declared that the last Monday in May would be celebrated as Memorial Day.

The need for a national moment to remember grew from recent national polls indicating that only 28 percent of Americans knew the true meaning behind Memorial Day. The polls cited a disturbing trend that show that most Americans view the holiday as just another "day off" from work, or the opening of summer swimming pools.

In 2000, Congress passed a law designating the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m., every Memorial Day. This conscious act helps reclaim Memorial Day for the noble purpose for which it was intended. Participating organizations in the National Moment of Remembrance include Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, Amtrak, Veterans' Administration hospitals, our national parks, military installations around the world, hospitals, airports, grocery stores and restaurants.

Everyone can participate. Pause wherever you are, and take a moment in your own way to remember the sacrifices of those who died serving our nation. Encourage others to participate, and if you know of someone who lost a loved one in the service to our great country, let them know of your gratitude.

Let this truly be a Memorial Day to remember.

Rep. Frank LoBiondo

2nd District

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