When I was a little kid and continuing well into my adulthood, I would accompany my parents to various cemeteries in various US States on, or about, May 30 of those years to place flowers on graves of family and friends. My parents would call that "Decoration Day," but it became later changed to its current name "Memorial Day" in 1967, with the federal law taking effect in 1971. My family would place flowers on all family members regardless of whether they served in the Armed Forces or not. It is a day of remembrance for all, but more especially to honor those military personnel who died while serving. The flowers decorate the graves to show that the Honored Dead are never Forgotten.
We have just passed the "Observed Memorial Day" which occurs on the last Monday in May to enable federal-workers and others to have a three-day holiday. While this is all well and good: I still remember May 30th as the real and traditional date. The late U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye introduced resolutions for over 25 years in Congress to restore the original date, but never succeeded.
On the Sunday preceding Memorial Day is the Indianapolis 500 car race in Indiana. I have personally driven the famous track in my private vehicle on the one-day-per-year that Track Officials allow this to be done. It was quite a thrill. That was in 2006. This year of 2014, I watched actor and singer Jim Nabors sing his final performance of "Back Home in Indiana," which he first sung at their pre-race festivities in 1972. LeAnn Rimes sang the National Anthem and Catholic Bishop Christopher Coyne gave one of the most inspirational Invocations I have ever heard. His prayer was heartfelt and sums up the feelings of most Americans as to the rich traditions of the holiday — whether it is the observed date or the traditional date of May 30 -- the Bishop said in conclusion: "Thank you. God Speed and God Bless America".
— James A. Marples, Esbon