Honoring our Fallen Heroes

Today we honor the fallen men and women who bravely fought to defend our freedoms. These servicemembers selflessly gave their lives so that we can continue to live freely. We recognize this sacrifice today, and never forget all that was given.

At the end of the Civil War, Americans were left with the weight of how best to memorialize the 625,000 soldiers who perished on both sides of the conflict. Originally known as Decoration Day, this special day became a federal holiday in 1971 and is now recognized on the last Monday in May every year.

Across this country Memorial Day is celebrated in various ways, through parades, ceremonies, family gatherings and memorials, all of which serve to honor those who died in service to the United States of America. In the nation’s capital, a special ceremony is held every year at Arlington National Cemetery, where an American flag is placed at each grave. At the Cemetery, the President or Vice President of the United States typically places a wreath on the ‘Tomb of the Unknown Soldier,’ which holds the remains of a World War I fighter.

The Illinois lawmakers in the House of Representatives also honored Memorial Day in the House Chambers on Thursday May 25th with a recognition ceremony during legislative session. The Gettysburg Address was read to members through a House Resolution, and individual Representatives read the names the names of servicemembers that died in the line of duty in the last twelve months, who are from their districts. It was a meaningful ceremony that began with the Presentation of Colors, and ended with a bagpiper playing on the House floor.

This holiday is a constant reminder of the sacrifices that were made to guarantee our freedoms that we enjoy on a daily basis. Today and every day we remember these heroes. To those who courageously gave their lives, and to those who continue to fight today to protect our freedoms . . . thank you!

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