According to a 2000 Gallup poll*, 28 percent of Americans polled correctly identified the meaning of the U.S. Memorial Day holiday as an observance to honor those who died in war. Another 40 percent stated that it is about remembering veterans, and 6 percent said the day honors all the deceased – answers which are not precisely correct, but which show awareness of the holiday’s overall purpose. When asked about how they planned to observe the holiday, leisure activities including barbecuing, shopping, and vacationing ranked higher than visiting a veteran's cemetery or grave, or attending a Memorial Day parade.
That same year the National Moment of Remembrance was established by Congress, asking Americans, wherever they are at 3 p.m., local time, on Memorial Day, to pause in an act of national unity for a duration of one minute. This action reminds us to stop and consider the true meaning of Memorial Day. Though the moment of silence formally began in recent years, Memorial Day has a long and deep history, and the original intent of the day must not be overshadowed.
As a company rooted in patriotism and dedicated to serving our military men and women, it’s particularly important to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Just as we are committed to making a meaningful contribution to our nation through the work we do here, let’s demonstrate that same commitment to keeping the “memorial” in Memorial Day. I wish all of you a safe and happy Memorial Day. What are you planning to do to observe Memorial Day?”
Hal Yoh is chair and chief executive officer of Day & Zimmermann, a leader in construction & engineering, staffing and defense solutions for leading corporations and government agencies around the world. He is the third generation of the Yoh family to lead Day & Zimmermann—a family-owned business and former recipient of the U.S. National Family Business of the Year award. As chairman and chief executive officer since 1999, Hal has helped shape the strategic growth that the company has achieved over the last few decades.