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Memorial Day caps off a month of appreciation for our military

The month of May has been designated by Congress as National Military Appreciation Month, a time to pay special attention to and salute our armed services members, both past and present. The official website for National Military Appreciation Month, www.nmam.org, lists some of the many ways in which individuals and businesses alike can support our military members and Veterans this month and every day of the year.

The month’s notable days include Military Spouse Appreciation Day on May 12, Armed Forces Day on May 20 and, of course, Memorial Day, celebrated on the last Monday in May. This year, Memorial Day is May 29.

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, was initiated to honor the soldiers for the Union and Confederate armies who died during the American Civil War. By the late 19th century, the holiday became known as Memorial Day and was expanded to include the deceased Veterans of all the wars fought by American forces. In 1971, Memorial Day became a federal holiday.

While Memorial Day marks the unofficial beginning of summer vacation for many and is seen as a time for picnics and family get-togethers, there are some Memorial Day traditions that are still practiced:

  • Raising of the U.S. flag to the top of the flagpole, lowering it slowly to half-mast to honor our fallen U.S. soldiers, then raising it again to full height at noon to symbolize the resolve of the living to carry on the fight for freedom.
  • Visiting cemeteries and decorating the graves with small American flags, flowers and wreathes.
  • A Memorial Day concert at the U.S. capitol building, a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, and numerous parades all across the country
  • Wearing of red poppies as a symbol of fallen soldiers, inspired by the famous poem “In Flander’s Fields"

Please join Delta Dental and the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program in paying tribute to our military members and Veterans this month. We are proud to serve those who have served our country.

Last updated May 2017

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