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Memorial Day and Gratitude

by John R. Berry

The three-day weekend around Memorial Day is effectively the start of summer. That usually means vacation. There are so many great places to see not just here in Texas, but throughout the U.S. and worldwide. We have clients who enjoy trips as varied as hiking in Colorado, RV’ing to the great national parks, and cruising peacefully in the Caribbean or down a European river.

Dreams that you as our client share with us here in our office—topics such as trips and a good car to drive along a scenic byway--are made possible by the sacrifices of those we remember this upcoming weekend.

Communities across the United States often mark Memorial Day by placing flags at veterans’ graves or holding speeches and picnics.

If you don’t have plans yet but want something to do, I urge you to search online for “Memorial Day Events Near Me” or even just “ways to celebrate Memorial Day.” The fun getaways + ways to truly remember the reason for the holiday are very diverse and there is truly something for everyone, even if it’s just an interesting article to read.

As a refresher this past week, I did a little research into the history of Memorial Day.

Here’s a little bit of info that should make us all be grateful to be eating a hamburger or hot dog during our family cookouts!

Did you know that the holiday we’ve called Memorial Day since 1971 started out as Decoration Day?

It was called that because after the American Civil War in the 1860s, cities and towns began holding spring observances to honor fallen soldiers. The services included decorating graves with flowers.

It’s no wonder such a solemn observance began at that time: Deaths of Union and Confederate soldiers totaled nearly 500,000, a very high percentage of the population at the time.

Memorial Day honorees of course include not just those from the Civil War, but all those who have died serving in the U.S. military.

In all, more than 40 million Americans have served in wartime dating back to the American Revolution.

Stopping to review how we all arrived to the here and now, at our relative abundance, can provide often-needed perspective.

As you and I work through life together, discussing ups and downs of career, family, retirement, and the world in general, let’s remind ourselves that we have ever so much to be grateful for.



U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, “America’s Wars” Fact Sheet, updated 2021., Memorial Day Page