Do you know what Memorial Day is truly all about?

I have often uttered that phrase, "Have a happy Memorial Day Weekend", in fact, I had said it this morning on the radio, glibly unaware of how callous I may have sounded to those still in mourning over their loss of those who died fighting to protect America in the military.

I was today-years-old when I recognized that it is not appropriate to use the word “happy", even though I was merely wishing people to have a good time off work for Memorial Day Weekend. I had never stopped to think about how saying "happy" absolutely rubs some people the wrong way.

While the rest of the country is out planning their family cookouts and friendly barbecues or traveling off to a quick three-or-four-day Memorial Day Weekend vacation, others are still fresh in their grief. You wouldn't say "Happy Funeral Day" to someone, so why we generally say "Happy Memorial Day"?

I can see the other side of the coin, too, where some may think it is totally fine to say "Happy Memorial Day", especially because we are alive due to the sacrifices of those who served our country. Some would indeed say we should not spend the entire day in mourning but be out celebrating life with friends, family, good food and good times.

Here are five things to know about Memorial Day, including information about the parade and ceremonies about town.

  • 1

    Decoration Day

    The American Civil War ended in 1865 and thereafter, the first Memorial Day was observed (it was then called Decoration Day because the graves were decorated with flowers) to honor those who perished during the war.

  • 2

    The Birthplace of the Official Memorial Day Commemoration

    The city of Waterloo, New York, was recognized in 1966 as the national birthplace of Memorial Day in 1866.

  • 3

    Memorial Day is not the same as Veterans Day

    Memorial Day honors those who died in active military service while Veterans Day celebrates the entire body of all retired and current U.S. military service members.

  • 4

    Moment of Silence

    As decreed by the U.S. Congress, Americans are encouraged to pause for a moment of silence at 3 p.m. in their time zone on Memorial Day. If there is a baseball or NASCAR game, they halt at 3 p.m. local time for one minute to honor fallen soldiers. Other organizations, businesses and national monuments also observe this moment of silence, including NASA, the Statue of Liberty and the Liberty Bell in Pennsylvania.

  • 5

    2019 Yakima area Memorial Day Parade and Ceremonies

    The Memorial Day Parade will be held in Yakima on Saturday, May 25th at 10 a.m. along Yakima Avenue (Sixth Avenue will be closed from Yakima Avenue to Walnut Street). 

    Other Memorial Day services on Saturday, May 25th:

    9 a.m. at West Hills Memorial Park (11800 Douglas Rd)

    10 a.m. at Tahoma Cemetery (1802 Tahoma Ave)

    1 p.m. at Sarg Hubbard Park (111 S 18th St)

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