Since 1868, Americans have set aside one day a year to honor the over 1.1 million men & women who gave their lives while serving their country. While Memorial Day comes just once a year, VA and its employees uphold the meaning behind it each and every day by providing the best care possible to our Veterans.

Initially called Decoration Day because families & friends would spend the day decorating the graves of their fallen loved one; the day was renamed Memorial Day during WWII and became a federal holiday in 1971. It serves to honor the men & women whose lives & actions in battle helped to shape not just our Nation, but the World! Whether they were present when the first shot was fired at Lexington & Concord or they’ve walked the streets of Baghdad, they’ve had a direct impact on history.

A simple way to both show your respect & support living Veterans & their families is through the purchase of a RED POPPY, known as the “flower of remembrance,” the poppy gained popularity after Canadian surgeon, Lt Colonel John McGrae, penned the poem “In Flanders’Field” during WWI. He describes the crimson flowers growing between the crosses marking the graves of those who fell during that pivotal battle. It was proclaimed the official memorial flower of the VFW in 1922. Now, artificial poppies are manufactured by patients & residents in VA hospitals and homes, with proceeds going to support Veterans, widows and orphans affected by war. By purchasing and wearing a red poppy, you can honor Memorial Day while making a difference in a living Veteran’s life.

Fly your American flag at half-staff. Guidelines: when putting the flag at half-staff, raise it quickly to the top of the staff, then slowly lower it halfway down. The flag should only be flown at half-staff from dawn until noon before being raised to full-staff until sunset.

Take time on Memorial Day to pause for the National Moment of remembrance. At 3 pm local time, take one minute to pause and reflect on the sacrifices made by those who have lost their lives fighting for the United States! If you are driving, turn your headlights on to show your participation. SPREAD THE TRUE MEANING BEHIND MEMORIAL DAY…..

Each and every day beyond Memorial Day, over 365,000 VA employees dedicate their lives to serve those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Brenda Dever-Armstrong, CEO/Owner/CSA/Geriatric Advisor
The Next Horizon Seniors & Military (Veterans/Spouses) Advocate/Resources/Services/Locator (Military Spouse of 40 years)