By Emma Coyle
Memorial day is the start of summer, a long weekend, and an American tradition wherein the country comes together in remembrance of those who have served in the armed forces. Starting after the civil war, families have spent the day together visiting memorials and services that honor the dead. This federal holiday wasn’t officially recognized until 1971 and was originally known as Decoration Day until the 20th century.
Sidewalks in towns throughout the country will be sporting American flags, children will be waving to those dressed in uniform and it will be a day of both celebration and remembrance. Celebrating the ideals that America is internationally known for possessing. The ideals that people are willing to die for as they serve. Freedom has come with a cost since the beginning and there is nothing worth more than the preservation of the rights and responsibilities that come along with it.
There is a sense of reverence when we speak about those who have given their lives to protect this country and ensure that all people in America are able to live fully and happily, exercising the rights that matter most to all who live here. There are so many heroes who deserve to be honored this year and we will be featuring Walk of Honor by Leonard Correa who captured, from above, uniformed service people walking holding the American flag between them. The way the flag carried is reminiscent of pallbearers carrying a coffin, people saluting from all sides. There is an air of reverence, not just for the flag itself but for what it stands for. This image is a reminder of what others have given up and why it matters for them to be remembered.
There is a simplicity in the scene and in its specificity it transcends the individual and becomes emblematic like the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. It is impossible to know who they are remembering at that moment so for each on looker it stands for all those lost and all those we should take the time to appreciate this weekend.
This year Memorial Day falls on Monday, May 28th and there will be major parades and ceremonies in New York City and communities throughout the country.