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Celebrating Memorial Day with USS KIDD

For many, Memorial Day marks the official start of summer. And while it’s often celebrated with barbecues and pool parties, it’s important to remember the importance of the holiday and the weight it carries for those whose loved ones gave the ultimate sacrifice. In order to get us all in the right mindset for the weekend, we chatted with Rosehn Gipe, executive director of the USS KIDD Veterans Museum, to find out more about Memorial Day and her recommendations for honoring and celebrating.

According to Gipe, Memorial Day, often confused with Veterans Day, is a day to remember and honor the men and women who have died while serving in the United States military.

The poppy has long stood as a symbol of Memorial Day to honor those lost in battle. Photo courtesy USS KIDD Veterans Museum.

“Memorial Day began following the Civil War and was originally known as Decoration Day,” says Gipe. “No one knows exactly where the first Decoration Day was held, as different types of solemn, yet festive, events were held throughout the United States. However, Waterloo, New York, has been designated the birthplace of Memorial Day because that town has hosted an annual community event since 1866.”

Waterloo, N.Y., might be 1,4oo miles away, but you don’t need to travel far to honor America’s finest. Gipe explains that aside from celebrating at your home by raising the United States flag or sharing a story of a loved one who was lost in combat on social media, there are many ways to mark the special day across the Capital Region.

“Visiting the USS KIDD and the Louisiana Memorial Plaza is a great way to honor Louisiana’s fallen,” explains Gipe. “The USS KIDD served in World War II and the Korean War and was decommissioned in 1964. Nearly 7,000 names of Louisianans who have sacrificed their lives are listed on the black granite walls of the Louisiana Memorial Plaza on the grounds of the USS KIDD Veterans Museum. I recommend reading some of the names out loud if you go to visit. As long as the names are spoken, they will not be forgotten.”

How will you honor America’s fallen heros this Memorial Day? Let us know in the comments below.