Memorial Day and the beginning of summer, when the air becomes thick with the scent of grilled foods and cut lawns. The month of May means the start of outdoor décor season for many parts of the country. A pair of holidays during this month offer excellent opportunities to go beyond simple decoration and a chance to honor those who have served to keep America free. The Fourth of July may be America’s birthday, but don’t miss these opportunities to celebrate days just as important to the country.
While most people know that Memorial Day happens every year on the last Monday of May, few know its origins as another holiday. The modern holiday of Memorial Day came out of Decoration Day. Decoration Day began as a way to honor the soldiers that fell during the Civil War for both the Union and Confederate sides. The late date in May was chosen because late spring offers the best time for the flowers laid on soldiers’ graves to be in bloom. What began as a simple picnic to remember fallen family members evolved into breathtaking ceremonies and annual traditions over a long weekend. While Waterloo, New York has a claim backed by Presidential proclamation, Charlotte, South Carolina, Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, Carbondale, Illinois and many other communities all take credit to be the birthplace of Memorial Day in the United States because of Decoration Day ceremonies.
Armed Forces Day falls on the third Saturday in May every year. After World War II, the branches of the military reorganized under the Department of Defense. President Harry S. Truman Armed Forces Day honors those who currently serve in any branch of the United States Armed Forces, be it Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard. Armed Forces Day became the official day to celebrate the men and women currently serving, replacing the individual days marked out for the branches. Armed Forces Day has been around since 1950 as the anchor of Armed Forces Week, which often becomes the centerpiece of local celebrations near military bases throughout the country.
Decorations for these holidays often come in three colors; red, white and blue. Though they match the colors of the flag, the meaning of the colors comes from the Great Seal of the United States of America. On June 20th, 1782, the Great Seal was created with specific colors and symbols in mind, harkening back to the heraldry that’s been used in flags for centuries. Charles Thompson, the Secretary of the Continental Congress, chose red, white and blue with definite meanings in mind.
The flag incorporated those colors to represent the United States and mixing together strings of lights can add a patriotic flair to your exterior decorations in summer. Red represents the hardiness and valor of the American people. These lights can also serve double duty during the traditional holiday period. White signifies the purity and innocence of the people. The versatility of this color can’t be over stated. A string of LED lights bring brightness to any outdoor setting, be it porch, patio or even just a favorite spot in the yard. Blue signals vigilance, perseverance and justice. Cool blues add elegant style to any outdoor space. The easiest way to decorate for these holidays and show your patriotism is by utilizing Red, White, & Blue combination strands, but we also offer solid Red, White, or Blue in a variety of products, or combinations of red and white or blue and white, if that would better suit your needs.
Families of fallen veterans often bring flowers or other decorations to the cemetery. Days like Memorial Day or Armed Forces Day allow people directly affected by the death of a loved one a chance to honor and mourn their loss. Modern technology allows for a wider variety of decorative options, such as battery powered lights. All it takes is a few moments at a grave, military memorial or other remembrance site to turn on a light as a symbol that a veteran’s ultimate sacrifice for freedom.
This May, do a little something extra to honor those who have served to protect this country. Put up a patriotic light display to thank veterans past and future for their service, their time and their lives. Light up the night with the colors that are part of the nation. Put up red, white and blue lights to add the flash of fireworks without the noise to liven up the backyard.