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Honoring Our Fallen Heroes: OEM Pays Tribute to our Courageous Soldiers on Memorial Day

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By Denise Kovalevich, Office of Enterprise Management (OEM)  of the US Army:

On Monday, 27 May, Americans across the country will honor the brave servicemen and women who valiantly lost their lives fighting to safeguard our great nation. And while Memorial Day Weekend is often considered the “unofficial start of summer,” typically spent with family get-togethers, parades, and cookouts, the true meaning of Memorial Day is a much more solemn occasion. It’s a time to pay tribute to our fallen heroes and recognize the sacrifice, selflessness, and valor that these more than one million men and women have made while serving in wars and missions since the American Revolution.

We, at the Office of Enterprise Management (OEM), would like to pay homage to all men and women who have died in U.S. military service and salute them for their unwavering courage and loyalty in the name of freedom. We invite you to join us, where ever you may be spending Memorial Day, in commemorating these heroes by observing a moment of silence at 3 PM local time for one minute, as part of the National Moment of Remembrance Act (passed by Congress in 2000). This symbolic act of unity will help us all reflect on the true meaning of the day and ensure that the lives of our servicemen and women are never forgotten.

Ways to Honor our Fallen Heroes on Memorial Day
  • Flag Etiquette: On Memorial Day, the American flag is flown at half-staff from dawn until noon, then raised to full-staff until sunset. This gesture honors the fallen in the morning and symbolizes the resilience and continued fight for freedom in the afternoon.
  • Visiting Cemeteries and Memorials: Many people visit cemeteries and memorials to pay their respects to those who have died in military service. Flags and wreaths are often placed on their gravesites and many cemeteries plan a “cleanup” day to ensure that plots and memorials are looking their best.
  • Attend Museum and Library Memorial Events: Museums and libraries across the U.S. will be hosting special Memorial Day learning opportunities throughout the weekend. One of the largest includes The National Veterans Memorial and Museum in Columbus, OH, which is hosting a Live Stream Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony featuring a keynote message given by Patrick Murphy, the 32nd Undersecretary of the U.S. Army and America’s first Iraq War Veteran elected to the U.S. Congress. It will be live streamed at 10 AM ET on YouTube @NationalVMM and Facebook at National Veterans Memorial and Museum FB.
  • Support Gold Star Families: Offer support to the families of fallen soldiers, known as Gold Star families. Their loss and sacrifice are enduring, and a gesture of kindness can mean a great deal.
  • Parades and Ceremonies: Communities across the nation hold parades and ceremonies featuring veterans, active-duty military personnel, and patriotic music. These events serve as a reminder of the valor and dedication of those who served. Check your local newspaper or online forums for events near you.
  • Arlington National Cemetery Memorial Day Observance/ In-Person and Live Stream (Monday, 27 May): The 156th National Memorial Day Observance, recognizing and commemorating the fallen men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces, will take place at 11 AM ET. Public events include performances by the United States Air Force Band’s Singing Sergeants and the U.S. Coast Guard Band, followed by a parade of colors by veterans’ organizations and remarks from dignitaries. A live stream of the event will be available at  Arlington National Cemetery Memorial Day Observance Live Stream.
How the U.S. Army Observes Memorial Day

The U.S. Army, with its rich history and traditions, has several poignant ways to commemorate Memorial Day.

  • Arlington National Cemetery: “Flags In” Ceremony: One of the most revered traditions for the Army is the “Flags In” ceremony, which has been conducted annually since 1948. Soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as “The Old Guard,” place American flags at every headstone for service members buried at Arlington National Cemetery and the U.S. Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery. Every available soldier in the Old Guard participates, along with members of other service branches. They place small American flags in front of more than 260,000 headstones and at the bottom of about columbarium 7,000 niche rows. Each flag is inserted into the ground, exactly one boot length from the headstone’s base.

At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Sentinels (who are members of the Old Guard) place flags to honor the Unknowns. Army chaplains place flags in front of the headstones and four memorials located on Chaplains’ Hill in Section 2. While this is not a public event, visitors will have the opportunity to see flags at every gravesite and columbarium niche row throughout Memorial Day weekend. To learn more about this time-honored tradition, visit “Flags In” Ceremony.

For over 30 years, the concert’s mission is to unite the country in remembrance and appreciation of those who gave their lives for our nation through uplifting musical performances, documentary footage and dramatic readings. It will air Sunday, 26 May at 8 PM ET/7 PM CT and re-air at 9:30 PM ET. Visit PBS for local stations.

  • Wreath-Laying and Remembrance Ceremonies: Senior Army leaders will participate in wreath-laying and remembrance ceremonies at various memorials and monuments dedicated to fallen soldiers across the country. These observances serve as a symbol of respect and honor. One of the largest events will be held at Fort Knox Kentucky Veterans Cemetery-Central at 11:30 AM ET on Monday, 27 May in honor of all service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the nation. The event will include a ceremonial wreath laying, 21-gun salute, Prisoners of War/Missing in Action remembrance ceremony, flag folding, a flyover courtesy of the Army Reserve Aviation Command, and the playing of taps. For more information, visit Fort Knox Memorial Day Observance.

We at OEM hope you and your loved ones enjoy a safe and relaxing Memorial Day. However, we hope that you will remember that it is also a time of solemn reflection and remembrance for the U.S. Army and servicemen and women throughout our country. By honoring these brave men and women and their values of duty, honor, and country, we can ensure that their legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of us all.

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