Observing Memorial Day in the Social Media Age
Since 1868, Americans have marked May 30th as a day to honor the memory of all U.S. service personnel who have died while in military service. The day of remembrance is also recognized by many as the start of summer vacation and the ideal time to take a trip, clean the pool or bust out the grill.
On a personal level, I’m a huge history geek. I can remember flipping through textbooks in elementary school and learning about Memorial Day. There were dozens of facts and figures accompanied by vivid pictures of the battle at Shiloh and Ulysses S. Grant. I’ll also never forget my week-long trip to Washington D.C. during junior high and seeing the eternal flame at Arlington National Cemetery with my own eyes.
While advancements in technology don’t replace the power and impact of those experiences I had when I was younger, the accessibility of information and ability for anyone to upload photos, videos and stories has made it so easy for me to witness and relive important parts of our nation’s history with a few simple mouse clicks. Here are a few examples:
In 2007, the National Memorial Day Concert produced a touching video on the history of Memorial Day. The video has garnered nearly 50,000 views.
While the above video was produced with a big budget and uses a big name star to tell the story of Memorial Day, short videos shot by amateurs can sometimes generate more attention. For example, this amateur YouTube video featuring the historic Changing of the Guard ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery has nearly one million views in the same amount of time.
There are a number of interesting facts and figures that coincide with Memorial Day. Social news site Digg recently posted the following infographic on its main news page.
So, regardless of where and how you plan to observe Memorial Day, just know that you can experience it in a slightly new way just by picking up your phone, tablet, laptop or mouse for a few minutes.