There's a reason Americans have a three-day weekend at the end of May and it has nothing to do with the kickoff of the summer season.

There's a reason Americans have a three-day weekend at the end of May and it has nothing to do with the kickoff of the summer season.
Memorial Day this year falls on Monday, May 28 but for many decades, more than 100 years, Memorial Day, also often called Decoration Day, was on May 30.
The day - which has become a weekend - was began as a tribute to fallen soldiers after the Civil War ended. In the beginning, the day was aside a time to remember and honor the war dead on both sides of that conflict but in time, during World War I, it became a time to remember all those who have fallen in service to their nation.
"Those who lost their lives gave us the freedom to celebrate," William Doubek, Neosho said.
Doubek is a Vietnam veteran, Lutheran minister, American Legion member, past National Chaplain for the American Legion, a police chaplain for both the Neosho Police Department and the Newton County Sheriff's Office and a current city council member.
"I come from a family that has always served, since coming to the United States,” he said. “I grew up visiting the cemetery (on Memorial Day), putting out flags and decorating graves."
This year marks the 150th anniversary of Memorial Day in the U.S. The first Memorial Day was held on May 30, 1868 and was observed on that day through 1970. In 1971, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, passed by Congress in 1868, became official. Since then, Memorial Day weekend has become, for some, the unofficial kickoff for the summer season.
Like Doubek, generations of Americans grew up visiting the graves of their loved ones, placing flags on veterans and decorating graves. In Neosho, the Neosho High School Air Force Junior ROTC cadets have long placed an American flag on veterans' graves in more than one cemetery and are doing so again this year.
In 1918, with American forces engaged in World War I, President Woodrow Wilson designated May 30, Memorial Day, as a Day of Prayer.  
In Neosho, local newspaper The Neosho Daily Democrat reported on May 29, "Tomorrow has been made yet more sacred by the setting apart, by President Wilson's proclamation, of the day as a time of public humiliation, fasting, and prayer. It is a timely thought. The ministers have arranged to have the Congregational Church open during the entire day for those who wish to enter for prayer. In the evening, a public service will be held in conformance with the spirit of the day. As tomorrow is Memorial Day, all business places in Neosho are requested to close at 10 a.m. and stay closed for the remainder of the day. The post office will be open tomorrow only from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m."
In 2018 there will be no postal delivery and many businesses will be closed in observance of the holiday.
In Neosho, the annual Memorial Day Service is slated for 9 a.m. on Monday at IOOF Cemetery. Neosho AFJROTC Cadets will present the colors. The Neosho Exchange Club, VFW and American Legion will place wreaths and Missouri State Representative Bill Reiboldt will be the featured speaker. Another Memorial Day ceremony will also take place in Stella, at 10 a.m. on Monday. AFJROTC cadets will present the colors there as well.
Doubek said family members served in World War II, during the Korean War and in Vietnam, where he served.
"I was shot down in a helicopter and was missing in action, presumed dead," Doubek said. "I always knew I wasn't missing but I didn't know they weren't looking for me. But I'm here - I survived."
Doubek recalled that during his military service he sent men to do jobs and some did not return. Their service and sacrifice, along with that of all those who served, should be remembered.
"I don't want to forget," Doubek stated. " I don't want my kids to forget. I don't want my grandkids to forget. I don't want America to forget. I don't want the names forgotten. I don't want anyone to forget any of the names."
To Doubek, it seems that many Americans have either forsaken or forgotten the reason behind Memorial Day.
"A handful of us will be visiting cemeteries giving thanks to God and remembering our honored dead,” he said. “Sadly, a lot of military veterans will be a part of those who choose to not participate."
Memorial Day will be observed on Monday, May 28, the third day of a three-day weekend.