Memorial Day Should Be Celebrated With Senior Veterans

Posted by Kia Crawford on May 25th, 2012 in Education, Holidays, Spirit | No Comments

Several communities will host Memorial day celebrations this weekend to honor those who fought courageously for our country and gave the ultimate sacrifice- their lives. This is a special time for all veterans, especially for older veterans, many of whom reside in our communities. Many have friends and comrades who died in service. Many scathed coming home themselves. Although Memorial Day in the mainstream has become slightly diluted with summer  kickoff celebrations and department store sales, for many of our residents, Memorial Day still serves often as solemn reminder of dear friends who were lost in battle. Around this time of year, recessed memories of war may surface in the minds of our elders. Caregivers should be sensitive to our senior veterans special connection to the holiday. american-flag

History of Memorial Day

Memorial Day derived from the American Civil War. After the war, both union and confederate fallen soldiers were memorialized in some way. However, the first known observance of Memorial Day as we know it today was  in Charleston South Carolina on May 1 1965. Freedmen ( black American former slaves) decided to commemorate the Union soldiers who had been held in Charleston as prisoners of war and died. Consequently,  over 257 soldiers were buried expediently in unmarked graves. To honor the fallen, the freedmen cleaned up and landscaped the burial ground, and added an arch that read “Martyrs of the Race Course” (named for the area where the union soldiers were held) . They gathered to honor the dead  for what was called the May Day ceremony. Black  and white clergy, missionaries, union troops and 3,000 school children from the new freedmen school attended the ceremony and commemorated the fallen soldiers with flowers, dance and song. The day was extended to the North and became known as “First Decoration Day,” which later changed to Memorial Day.

Memorial Day Today

The day is now celebrated with American flags, fireworks and parades. Most federal buildings will lower the flag to half staff. Media outlets have been known to list the names of recent causalities during war time. Many Americans will visit the graves of fallen soldiers. Now, many families use the day as well to remember loved ones by visiting cemeteries and placing flowers on their graves.  The day has become many different things to  many different people.

A great way to commemorate  Memorial day is to use it as a day of service. People can use Memorial Day to volunteer with seniors or VA hospitals. It is a great time to show how much their service and willingness to sacrifice is appreciated.  Memorial Day is a great time to give back and honor our veteran seniors. There are various events and volunteer opportunities across the country, and at many senior living communities including Dogwood Forest Assisted Living in Fayetteville, GA.