By Mr. Robert Schell (Front Page)April 30, 2007
Our Soldiers, Civilians, Veterans and Family Members, as well as other members of our armed forces have historically made great contributions to our Nation. Each year from May through July there are many holidays and events to recognize and remember those contributions. May 1st begins this unofficial time period on the calendar - the Season of Remembrance. This two-month season starts at the same time as Military Appreciation Month - May, and continues through the events of the Army's 232nd Birthday. Other events included in this time frame are Memorial Day, the kick-off to the Twilight Tattoo season and July 4th.
Legislation for Military Appreciation Month began in 1999 with original sponsorship by Senator John McCain. After a 2004 revision and reintroduction of the legislation, both Houses of Congress unanimously passed that May would be National Military Appreciation Month and is recognized with a Presidential proclamation each year. In a similar vein, President Harry S. Truman led the effort to establish a single holiday for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country. This effort became known as Armed Forces Day and is celebrated each May 21st.
This year will mark the 232nd birthday of the United States Army. The Army Birthday is recognition of The Army's history, traditions, and service to the Nation. Since its establishment on June 14, 1775 the United States Army has played a vital role in the growth and development of our Nation. American Soldiers have fought in 10 wars, from the American Revolution through the Cold War, the Gulf War and the current War on Terrorism.
Memorial Day has generally signified the beginning of summer to many in our society. Inclusion in the Season of Remembrance hopes to bring about the full significance of this holiday. Historically, Memorial Day was first known as Decoration Day because it was a time set aside to honor the nation's Civil War dead by decorating their graves. It was first widely observed on May 30, 1868, and commemorated the sacrifices of Civil War Soldiers. During the first celebration of Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery. After this speech, 5,000 participants helped decorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Union and Confederate Soldiers buried in the cemetery. More recently, the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance was established by Congress. It promotes acts of remembrance throughout the year and asks Americans to pay our debt of gratitude in memory of our fallen by giving something back to the Nation. The Commission is also tasked to unite the country in the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. on Memorial Day.
More information on the Season of Remembrance and the events that are within this season may be found online at www.army.mil/remembrance.