The Added Meaning Behind Memorial Day for the Funeral Profession
Memorial Day and the funeral industry are bound together. For funeral directors, this means finding ways to mark the holiday with deference to all of the vets who have passed on, most notably the ones whose passing we've helped to memorialize.
The public sometimes links Memorial Day with Veteran's Day. They do both honor veterans, but Memorial Day is special because it honors those veterans who gave their lives in service. Veteran's Day is meant to honor all veterans who served and were honorably discharged from their duties. There is a heavy and important difference between these holidays, particularly for the loved ones of the fallen.
History of Memorial Day
Memorial Day was first recognized as a Federal holiday and celebrated on the last Monday of May in 1971. The Act that declared the day was passed in 1968. If you believed that the holiday had a much longer history, you are correct.
There are some contradictions about where it originated. Still, the birth of Memorial Day started as a way to remember the fallen soldiers of the Civil War in the United States. Different communities around the country made special days to decorate graves and hold remembrance celebrations for the many men who were buried in cemeteries around the country.
The original name of the holiday was Decoration Day. General John A. Logan declared May 30th as the official date of Decoration Day in 1868. That date was chosen because it had no battle or other remembrance attached to it.
Officially, they recognize Waterloo, New York as the birthplace of the holiday; however, it was celebrated in different communities by different names as far back as the very year the Civil War ended. The day started to honor only those who had fallen during the civil war.
The holiday has evolved to include all American military from every branch who have fallen in every conflict.
Observing Memorial Day in the Funeral Profession
For funeral directors and others in the funeral profession, Memorial Day has a special meaning. So many people in our communities have strong ties to this day. They've lost loved ones and need support to help mark the occasion with the grace that it deserves. Funeral directors offer profound expertise in the art of memorializing those who have passed, and many take it upon themselves to stay very involved in the community needs at this time.
The current pandemic means that some funeral directors had to adapt activities in order to maintain current health guidelines and crowd limits for celebrations. There are still many activities that you can participate in, such as decorating graves for those soldiers' families.
Here are a few ideas to stay involved with your community to offer Memorial Day services:
- Place wreaths and flags on graves of the fallen. This might be a yearly free memorial that your funeral home offers to all families of fallen soldiers. They can simply give you their family member's names and locations. You'd be surprised how much it means to families to see the graves attended to that way.
- Remember the soldiers from long ago. There are many soldiers in our cemeteries from generations ago, whose families have long passed, as well. Taking the time to honor their graves is also a tremendous service that means a lot for the community.
- Observe 3 pm Remembrance. On Memorial Day, we set 3 pm as the time to stop and reflect on the soldiers who have passed. Your funeral home can honor this hour in a few different ways. You might bring a military presence to play Taps or have the song played over a loudspeaker. You might also make it a part of a larger community event for Memorial Day (in years where there is no restriction on crowds).
Many funeral directors find that veteran's associations need help celebrating the day. This might include older veterans in nursing homes and those who are newly home from service. Veterans and current military members often have a strong feeling about this holiday and appreciate the support in making this day as special as possible to commemorate the fallen.
Memorial Day can be a stressful holiday for many families. Funeral directors can offer their expertise and services to help honor those who have served this country in a way that's fitting for their sacrifice.
Previous Blog Posts for Pierce Mortuary Colleges
- The Added Meaning Behind Memorial Day for the Funeral Profession
- How Funeral Directors Can Carry On During the Coronavirus Pandemic
- Why Online and Distance Learning Won't Slow You Down from Getting Your Degree
- Pierce Mortuary Colleges Offer Degree Programs for Veterans
- The Importance of a Degree in Funeral Service Management
- Coping with Loss During the Holidays
- The Importance and Benefits of Thanatology Certification
- The Growing Need for Proficiency in Green Funeral Services
- Designer and Custom Caskets
- Time Management Skills for Online Degrees
- Day in the Life
- Grieving and Social Media: Does Posting About Your Anguish Hurt or Help?