On Memorial Day Weekend, Hoosiers typically spend the weekend celebrating the Indy 500 and cooking-out, but the weekend means so much more. Memorial Day was established as a day to honor all those who died in service of their country. Since 1775, it is estimated that 1.8 million Americans have given their life in order to fight for freedom.
“The dead, the dead, the dead—our dead—or South or North, ours all” – Walt Whitman
After the Civil War, U.S. officials looked for a way to memorialize the nearly 620,000 deaths that occurred during the war. The second deadliest war for America is at a far second with World War II suffering 405,000 American losses. Americans in the North decided to decorate memorials and graves of soldiers after the Civil War, however the South did not participate in Decoration Day. It was not until the first World War that Southern states began to participate in Decoration Day as day to remember all American lives lost to wars. The same holiday is now known as Memorial Day, but the tradition of remembering lost American lives is still commemorated by decorating their graves and memorials.
In 1971, the National Holiday Act created Memorial Day and made it an official Federal holiday on the last day of May, every year. In 2000, the National Moment of Remembrance was established by Congress and Americans across the country are asked to pause at 3 p.m. local time to remember those who sacrificed their lives.
“Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.” – President Harry S. Truman
The Indiana Senate Democratic Caucus would like to express our thanks to those who serve and wish for all Hoosiers, a safe Memorial Day weekend.