Memorial Day and Veterans Day each honor the military, but are not the same.
Memorial Day, observed annually on the last Monday in May, honors the brave men and women who lost their lives while serving in the American military.
While many people view Memorial Day weekend as the unofficial start of summer, the weekend should not be celebrated without also pausing to reflect on and recognize those who lost their lives in defense of freedom and the American way of life.
Veterans Day is observed annually on Nov. 11 and recognizes all who have served in the military. Veterans Day coincides with Remembrance Day, which is also observed on Nov. 11, and recognizes armed-forces members who died in the line of duty, making it more similar to Memorial Day.
It’s not uncommon to recognize fallen soldiers on Veterans Day, but many use the date to express appreciation to living veterans.
Memorial Day events honor those who gave their all
The following events take place on Monday, May 30, and all are open to the public at no charge:
Memorial Day Ceremony, 10 a.m. in the Veterans Park and Gardens section of Bill Dreggors Park, 230 N. Stone St., DeLand. American Legion Orange Baker Post 187 will host. The City of DeLand Fire Department Honor Guard will present the colors, and U.S. Marine Corps League Detachment 1144 will offer the rifle salute to the fallen.
Speakers will include DeLand Mayor Robert Apgar in his final Memorial Day event as mayor, and guest speaker William C. Feyk, retired U.S. Army brigadier general, whose topic will be “Service, Sacrifice and Remembrance.” The military collections held within the DeLand Memorial Hospital and Veterans Museum will be available for a free tour immediately after the event, which should run about 45 minutes.
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Memorial Day Ceremony, noon at VFW Post 8093, 351 S. Charles Richard Beall Blvd. (U.S. Highway 17-92), DeBary.
The post will host traditional Memorial Day ceremonies.
Memorial Day Ceremony, 1 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Park, 1921 Evard Ave., Deltona. Placement of flags and wreaths will precede remarks by Tom Burbank, a veteran of the Vietnam War.
The Deltona Veterans Memorial Museum will also be open for viewing the collection of military artifacts on display.
Did you know? Memorial Day facts
Each year on the last Monday of May, Americans mark Memorial Day as a federal holiday that honors and mourns American military personnel who died while performing their duties in service to the United States Armed Forces.
Memorial Day has a rich history and one that’s worth revisiting as the nation prepares to honor the sacrifices made by its military personnel over the centuries.
Freed slaves played a role in the establishment of Memorial Day. The American Civil War is the deadliest military conflict in American history, as the Union and the Confederacy each suffered more than 800,000 casualties by the time the war ended in 1865.
According to History.com, as the war drew to a close, hundreds of Union soldiers who were being held as prisoners of war died and were buried in a mass grave in a Confederate prison camp in South Carolina.
After the Confederate surrender, more than 1,000 now-freed slaves honored those recently deceased Union soldiers during a ceremony in which they sang hymns and distributed flowers. The ceremony dedicated to the fallen soldiers served as a precursor to what is now celebrated as Memorial Day.
Confederate soldiers were honored, too. Confederate losses during the Civil War outnumbered Union losses, and those losses were not forgotten by Southerners who survived the war.
History.com notes that, in 1866, the Georgia-based Ladies Memorial Association, one of many similar organizations to arise in the aftermath of the war, pushed for a day to honor fallen Confederate soldiers.
In fact, these efforts are believed to have influenced Gen. John A. Logan. In 1868, Logan, a Civil War veteran who was then serving as commander-in-chief of a group of Union veterans, ordered the decoration of Union graves with flowers on May 30. The day would ultimately be known as “Memorial Day.”
It took a long time for Memorial Day to become a federal holiday. Despite tracing its origins to the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, Memorial Day did not become an official federal holiday until 1971, more than a century after the war ended.
This is the same year the holiday was officially designated as taking place on the last Monday in May.
The designation has periodically drawn the ire of veterans and military supporters who suggest it is now more widely seen as the unofficial beginning to summer and not a day in which the sacrifices of fallen U.S. soldiers are honored to the extent that