Dear Warrior Families,
As Memorial Day approaches, I wanted to take a moment to highlight the importance of this commemorative day for Black and Latino communities in our country. Memorial Day not only serves as a time to remember and honor the sacrifices made by all service members, but it also carries a significant historical meaning deeply rooted in the struggles and contributions of these communities.
The tradition of observing Memorial Day can be traced back to after the Civil War ended; formerly enslaved African Americans in the South sought to honor and memorialize the countless Union soldiers who had fought and died to secure their freedom.
On May 1, 1865, in Charleston, South Carolina, a group of formerly enslaved residents organized what is considered the first Memorial Day commemoration. They gathered to clean and decorate the graves of Union soldiers buried at the Washington Race Course and Jockey Club, which had served as a Confederate prison camp during the war. The solemnity and respect with which they carried out this act of remembrance laid the foundation for what would become Memorial Day.
For Black Americans, Memorial Day holds a special significance as a time to remember and honor the many African American soldiers who fought bravely for their country throughout history, often in the face of discrimination and systemic inequality. From the Buffalo Soldiers in the post-Civil War era to the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II, Black service members have made invaluable contributions to the defense of our nation, despite facing numerous challenges and barriers.
Similarly, Memorial Day holds for many families of color who have proudly served in the U.S. Armed Forces, displaying unwavering dedication and valor. As we commemorate Memorial Day, let us not only reflect on the sacrifices of all service members but also recognize the unique experiences and contributions of Black and Brown communities. I encourage you to take part in Memorial Day ceremonies, visit memorials, or engage in discussions that shed light on the experiences and contributions of service members. By actively remembering their sacrifices and acknowledging their impact, we can foster a more inclusive and comprehensive understanding of our shared history.
Please enjoy the long weekend, and we look forward to seeing our 9-11th grade students on time Tuesday!