It may look a little different this year, but Highlands American Legion Post 370 will be celebrating Memorial Day at 10 a.m. on Monday.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, the public is asked to forego attending the ceremony at the Highlands Veteran’s Plaza. Instead, the ceremony can be viewed online via the Post 370 Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HighlandsNCAmericanLegionPost370.
Memorial Day has been observed as a day of remembrance since May 30, 1868 when it was known as Decoration Day. General John A. Logan, commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, called for a day of remembrance “for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”
What Gen. Logan referred to as the “late rebellion” was the Civil War – in which nearly 620,000 soldiers lost their lives.
Memorial Day was established as a federal holiday in 1968 when Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. They chose the last Monday in May, rather than May 30, in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees.
In December of 2000, the National Moment of Remembrance Act – which asks Americans to pause on Memorial Day at 3 p.m. local time for one minute to honor those who died protecting America’s rights and freedoms – was signed into law.
More than 1 million men and women have lost their lives defending America in wars, from the Revolution to the current global war on terrorism.
Highlands American Legion Post 370 will be honoring those heroes on Monday. There will be representatives at the Highlands Veterans Plaza to raise the flag and to recognize the 18 veterans who are having bricks added to the local “Walk of Honor.”