SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – For some the day is about family, barbecues, the beginning of summer, but Memorial Day was never meant to be a happy holiday. It is meant to be one of our most somber.

Memorial Day is the day we remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, who died in the service of their country. The ones who are freedom’s heroes.

The history of the day goes back to just after the Civil War, the nation celebrated Decoration day. According to an article on because so many people were killed in the Civil War, it created the need for national cemeteries. People would gather in spring and remember those who had died.

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Memorial Day as we know it, became a federal holiday in 1971.

The first national commemoration was held in Arlington National Cemetery on May 30th, 1868.

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One of the first observances was reported to be at a race track in South Carolina in 1865 when 10,000 freed slaves and missionaries held a parade to honor the fallen Union Soldiers.

Memorial Day being the unofficial opening of summer activities has been a cause for concern with many people, this year. We wanted to look into what Memorial Day means in its traditional form.

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Americans celebrate this day in many many different ways, and a lot not only remember the military fallen but all of those who have passed on in their families.

We ask Dennis Zerull a retired Green Beret, Deborah May, and Antoinette Stapley, both wives of men who have given their lives for our country, and Don Pullan to talk with us about what the day meant to them.

In the above video on this page you can listen to why the day is important to them and to share with us the Memorial Day legacy of their loved ones.

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Tracy Smith
Tracy T. Smith is an award winning content producer/storyteller. He has a passionate interest in all things narrative and loves writing, photography, cinematography and visual storytelling.