Four facts about the history of Memorial Day

This year's Memorial Day address came from two men who served in combat.

The observance of Memorial Day began after the Civil War when veterans organizations would decorate the graves of former comrades on the last day of May.

Unfortunately, much of the nation has lost touch with this original objective of the day, especially for those who have no close ties to the military. Veterans groups were concerned Americans associate the holiday with the first long weekend of summer and not a holiday to remember those who lost their lives serving in the military. Venerated for their service in one of America's darkest hours, they evoke a time when our nation was almost unanimous in its support of a war and of those who fought in it.

In the past three years, a ceremony to place flags at the graves of veterans buried in Meadowlawn Memorial Park has grown exponentially. "But you know, most people don't know why they got this day".

Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30.

Memorial Day is about honoring our military men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedom.

Decoration Day gradually became known as Memorial Day and now honors all US military personnel who have died during a military conflict.

A few years back, when a Times Review editor visited a national cemetery for a Memorial Day story, he stumbled upon a Vietnam veteran and cemetery caretaker. "There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America ..." The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn't the anniversary of any particular battle. Inouye died in 2012.

Hundreds gathered along Main Street in East Helena for the annual Memorial Day Parade. The town first celebrated on May 5, 1866.

Very few people truly ponder the real objective of this holiday: to honor the memories of the thousands of Americans who've died in the service of their country, fighting in wars around the globe.

No matter where you are or what you are doing, I ask every American to take the time to briefly pause and remember the true meaning of Memorial Day with this simple gesture.

All gave some, some gave all.