Memorial Day is the unofficial kickoff to summer. Community pools open, amusement parks have longer hours and it's OK to wear white. Its origins are much more serious, though. It's a day to remember the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. This week we'll take a look at Memorial Day and the special men and women we commemorate.
HONOR AND REMEMBRANCE
When you hear the word Waterloo, you probably think of Napoleon's surrender. There's another Waterloo--in New York-- and it's the birthplace of Memorial Day.
Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day. It was a time set aside to honor the nation's Civil War dead by decorating their graves. Find other interesting historical facts about the holiday, wars and conflicts, and more.
A moment of remembrance
3:00 PM is the national moment of remembrance. The entire nation will be unified in remembering our fallen veterans. There are various ways to participate. This site will help you choose a way to remember.
Celebrate like the old days
It's okay to have a cookout with family and friends, but don't forget about why we have this special day. This site suggests some meaningful ways to honor those who died.
Beautiful yet melancholy
Taps was first played during the Civil War. It was written by Union Brig. Gen. Daniel Butterfield in July 1862.
The nation's concert
A concert will be held on Sunday on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. If you're not in the area, you can watch it on PBS or listen to it on NPR.
CONFLICTS -- PAST AND PRESENT
Americans have lost their lives in many wars and conflicts. Here's some information on larger conflicts.
One soldier wrote that soldiering is 99% boredom and 1% sheer terror. View an online exhibition and learn more about the Civil War.
The war to end all wars
This excellent encyclopedia provides everything you need to know about World War I. View a chronology, war statistics and more.
Axis and Allies
The National World War II Memorial opened last year. It honors all Americans who served during the war, including the more than 400,000 who died.
War and pix
It's hard to view pictures of war and not be moved in some way. Some make you laugh--like seeing soldiers dancing with Raquel Welch at a USO show. Most are serious.
Gulf War I
It was hard to tear yourself away from CNN during the first Gulf War. Never before had war been televised like this. There are some great interviews with the key decision makers at the time.
Gulf War II
More than 1,600 Americans have died in Iraq. They're remembered here.
This site is dedicated to the soldiers who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Friends and family have posted photo slide shows of their loved ones. The tributes posted here are heart-wrenching. It really brings the horrors of war home to me.
HELP FOR VETERANS
Unfortunately, many soldiers face undue hardships when they return home. But there is help available. The following sites provide assistance to veterans who are having trouble adjusting to civilian life. The families of veterans will also find some of these sites useful.
This site is dedicated to helping the families of military members. If one of your family members is in the military, you simply must visit this site.
America Supports You
This site was launched and is run by the Defense department. If you are a veteran or currently in the military and need help, you'll find it here. You'll also find tributes and photo essays.