The purpose of Memorial Day vacations has been lost among retail sales and beach trips, many veterans say.

Steve Graham's family tradition includes a trip to Indianapolis – not just to see fast cars.

Graham spends the entire morning of the Indianapolis 500 at the famous racetrack, where the focus is on those who served America on battlefields.

"It's all about veterans who served and died, including those who were killed in action and who came home after serving and have since died," Graham

That's exactly the purpose Memorial Day vacation, Graham said. It's a message lost to retail sales and beach travel more than 70 years after the last World War.

"Over time, people lose sight of the original intent," said Graham, a major in history who serves as first vice president at Anderson's American Legion Post 14 on East Greenville Street. "In the civilian population, I think many people do not understand that Memorial Day should honor the dead.

" There is a great deal of confusion about Memorial Day and Veterans Day, a time when we honor living veterans, "Graham said said, "There is not much teaching in schools because the story is less stressed.

Graham Contributes to Post 14's Leading Young Marines Program Promoting American History and Physical Fitness He is also the first vice president at Post 14.

Graham, 70, served 15 years in the Marine Corps (19659010). 1966-81), including two years in Vietnam, a company that took the lives of 58,209 Americans.In terms of losses, it is the fourth in American history behind the Civil War, World War II and World War I.

Ken Lewellan, president of the Anderson County Marine Corps League, shares Graham's concern about Fewer people seem to be familiar with Memorial's purpose Day

"Anyone close to these wars, who took many lives, is getting older," said Lewellan, "and younger people do not know about it. I'm not sure they care.

South Carolina Veterans Services Corps Commander Bill Quinton of Greenville believes that the lack of knowledge about the holiday is related to a lack of academic emphasis across the country.

"It's sad" Because civilians do the Memorial Day the same way should know like the veterans, "Quinton said. "When one of my grandchildren went on a school trip to Washington DC not so long ago, I told her to ask the teacher about the war memorials, saying that the teacher did not know anything about them

More: Two Ways to Thank Upstate for Fallen Veterans

"History Is How We Learn" Quinton said, "But now it's not urgent to teach young people where we are. I'm afraid the time will come when young people will not know about the wars we found ourselves in. [19659010] Memorial Day, once known as the Day of Decoration, emerged in the years following the Civil War, with 750,000 American deaths – 520 per day for nearly four years – remaining by far the most expensive conflict in the US.

Over The holiday was held on May 30, 1868 to 1970.


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19659028] In 1971, it became an official holiday and moved to the last Monday of May to create a three-day weekend – one of the reasons some believe the significance of the holiday has been lost.

The veterans of Foreign Wars, in one official statement in 2002, found that "Changing the Date, only to create three-day weekends, has undermined the importance of the day. This has undoubtedly contributed greatly to the overall celebration of Memorial Day.

More: Events commemorating Veterans of Remembrance remember, honor and celebrate veterans

Each year from 1987 until his death in 2012, led by former Senator Daniel Inouye, a World War II veteran, unsuccessfully issued a resolution to return Memorial Day to its traditional date.

"The general population has no idea," said navy veteran Buddy Ferguson, a member of American Legion Post 51 in New York Belton.

"I'll be in the cemetery of Dolly Cooper (Veterans) this morning, My respect," said Ferguson, who joined the Marine Corps 50 years ago this month, "but no one but people burying a family there have, know about it.

Ferguson believes that much of the ignorance of military history can be traced back to January 27, 1973 – the final day of the military draft [194559010] More: Aiken County Army veteran [19659010] "There is a correlation between the draft that ended a generation ago and the general interest in the military," said Ferguson.

"The day of remembrance should be one day to those "Ferguson said in a cracking voice," but young people are the product of what we taught them, and we did not tell them much about the people who died for their land , We taught them much more about Memorial Day than the start of summer vacation. "

More: This does not have to be a" deadliest weekend "on Upstate Lakes, if you follow safety rules, experts say

Follow Abe Hardesty on Twitter @ abe_hardesty or email

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