Nation to Honor Fallen During National Moment of Remembrance
By Paul X. Rutz
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 25, 2006 On May 29, Americans will pause together to remember servicemembers from wars past and present who have given the ultimate sacrifice while defending the nation.
The National Moment of Remembrance takes place for one minute each year on Memorial Day, starting at 3 p.m., local time.
"The time 3 p.m. was chosen because it is the time when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday," according to a news release from the White House Commission on Remembrance. "The moment does not replace traditional Memorial Day events; rather, it is an act of national unity in which all Americans, alone or with family and friends, honor those who died for our freedom."
Observing the moment can be as simple as ringing a bell three times or pausing for a moment of silence, the news release said. Americans are encouraged to ask others to remember, including family, friends and co-workers.
Established by Congress in December 2000, the White House Commission on Remembrance encourages Americans to remember the sacrifices of its fallen military members, as well as the families they leave behind. According to its mission statement, the commission "promotes acts of remembrance throughout the year and asks Americans to pay our debt of gratitude in memory of our fallen by giving something back to the nation."
The idea for the program came in May 1996 when the commission's director, Carmella LaSpada, asked children touring the nation's capital what Memorial Day meant to them. "That's the day the pool opens," they said.
Providing a sense of history to America's citizens and ensuring younger generations remember the sacrifices made to preserve their freedom is a major goal, the news release said.
In addition to the National Moment of Remembrance, the commission has promoted other programs. In June 2004, the commission sponsored a "historically accurate" sand sculpture on Normandy Beach, France, to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of D-Day, according to its Web site. Sand sculptors worked for six days, making a 30-foot by 30-foot sculpture of allied troops storming the beach.
The commission employs cartoonists to create new, limited-edition cartoons for a calendar each year. It also partners with Dear Abby to send messages of support to the nation's troops.