What will you be doing at 3 p.m. today?

Three o’clock on Memorial Day may not mean much to you, but that’s not because you’re ignorant or inconsiderate. You’re simply unaware.

That’s the point of this editorial: To make you aware.

Each year on Memorial Day, a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3 p.m.

Set aside that hour today. Most of you probably have a smart phone, or maybe even an old-fashioned alarm clock. Set a reminder alert.

Now observed on the last Monday in May, the first Memorial Day was celebrated in Waterloo, New York on May 5, 1866. Businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags, according to history.com.

By 1868, Memorial Day was a national day of remembrance. The original purpose was to honor those who lost their lives in the Civil War.

A hundred years later, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act — it made the last Monday in May Memorial Day. Three years later, it became a federal holiday.

Americans, dressed in red, white and blue, will visit cemeteries and remember loved ones, some of whom didn’t serve the country. There’s nothing wrong with that. We commend it. But, for at least a few moments today, think about those who’ve fought and died for our freedom that we too often take for granted.

Signed by President Bill Clinton in 2000, the National Moment of Remembrance Act declared 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day to pause for a moment of silence. 

Let’s make the 20th anniversary of this act extra special. No matter where you are today at 3 p.m., close your eyes and think about the war zones, the heavy combat, the endless hours of preparation logged by soldiers — and remember how these men and women paved the way for the American dream we live every day.

 

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