Remembering and understanding the significance of Memorial Day

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) –  Fifty stars and 13 stripes. Our nation’s flag will symbolize the millions of U.S. war veterans as those living and those who’ve perished will be celebrated this holiday weekend.

You might have not known this, but Memorial Day became an official federal holiday in 1971 after being celebrated for decades as Decoration Day.

While many see the holiday as the unofficial start to summer, there’s a stronger significance tied to this holiday that is often overlooked.

Our 6 News reporter Neha Sheth spoke to local war veterans and tells us what Memorial Day means to them.

Veterans at two different VFW posts in Lansing say it’s unfortunate the true meaning and spirit of Memorial Day has lost its significance.

But they hope at some point during the holiday weekend people will get back to remembering what the holiday is really about, coming together to honor those who have sacrificed their lives for our country.

“It means we lost a lot of guys to make my life safe, my family here,” said veteran Arthur Gamelin.

“It is a deep feeling that you know sometimes you can’t express but the feeling of being a solider and then people are remembering you,” said local veteran Donald Caswell.

“This really is a day of remembrance for those who have fallen in combat and fought for our freedoms and to me I feel very thankful for those who came before me and I’m proud of my own service for fighting towards that goal which is defending our nation,” said local veteran Christopher Aldrich.

6 News reached out to viewers on Facebook and asked:

What does Memorial Day mean to you?

We received a number of responses and here’s what some of you had to say:

Jeff Schultz says, “It’s a day to remember those who gave their lives so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have today. God bless America.”

Ruth McDonald Mair agrees saying, “I have great respect for all those who gave their lives fighting for and protecting our country.”

Donny N. Sue Moon Jr. shares his sentiments saying, “ Remembering all of my loved ones that are waiting for me in heaven.”

To help remind Americans about the true meaning of Memorial Day, a moment of silence honoring our nation’s fallen heroes will take place at 3 p.m. on Monday, May 30.

It’s all part of the National Moment of Remembrance resolution the White House passed back in December of 2000.

We welcome thoughts and comments from our viewers. We ask that everyone keep their remarks civil and respectful. Postings that contain profanity, racist, or potentially libelous remarks will be deleted. We will delete any commercial postings, as well.

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