from Department Chaplain
TWO HOLIDAYS IN MAY
What? Two Holidays in May? Everyone knows about Memorial Day, now observed on the last Monday of May, but does anyone know about Armed Forces Day, observed on the third Saturday in May?
They certainly do in Hawthorne, Nevada! Hawthorne’s nickname is “America’s Patriotic Home,” and they have a huge (okay, huge for a city of just three thousand people) celebration of Armed Forces Day during the third weekend of May every year. The entire region turns out for the annual Armed Forces Day Parade on Saturday morning, followed by chili cook-offs, a watermelon eating contest, tug of war, fireworks, and a flyover by military jets based on nearby Fallon Naval Air Station. The Hawthorne Ordnance Museum has an open house, and displays much of the ammunition that has been manufactured by the Hawthorne Ammunition Depot, which dates back to World War II.
Armed Forces Day differs from Veterans Day, in that it honors those who are currently serving in America’s Armed Forces.
The other May Holiday is Memorial Day. Yes, in today’s America it is considered “the unofficial start of the summer season,” and an excuse for a cook-out, but it has a much more somber history. It started as a day to honor dead Union soldiers from the Civil War, but after World War I, it was expanded to honor war dead from all U.S. wars. Its original name was “Decoration Day,” because graves were decorated. The poppy is associated with Memorial Day, and many Units hold a poppy drive during this weekend. Most communities also hold a Memorial Day service, to remember veterans who are no longer with us.
This year let’s remember both holidays.
And may you have a meaningful Memorial Day.