May 17, 2002
The White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance was established by Congress to put the "memorial" back in Memorial Day. Unfortunately, too many Americans have lost sight of the meaning of the holiday. In fact, the idea of the Moment was born in 1996 when children touring our Nation's capital were asked what Memorial Day means and responded, "That's the day the pools open."
As a member of the Commission, I am writing to ask for your support to reclaim this noble holiday for its intended purpose of honoring those who died in service to our great country. On Memorial Day, May 27, a National Moment of Remembrance will be observed by Americans everywhere at 3:00 p.m. local time. The theme is "One Nation, One Moment." We need your help to gain the broadest possible awareness and participation among young people.
Please let teachers and students know about the opportunity to participate in a new American tradition simply by pausing wherever they may be at 3:00 p.m. for one minute to reflect on our fallen heroes. They can encourage their families and friends to join them. The activities they are enjoying on the holiday reflect the freedoms guaranteed by the sacrifices of the men and women who gave their lives. If they are driving at 3:00 p.m., they can simply turn on their vehicle's headlights.
For schools that are still in session after the holiday, teachers can ask students to recount how they observed the Moment. This may be appropriate to integrate into end-of-year classes and activities.
A variety of tools, including the Remembrance poster, are available to download at the official website, www.remember.gov. Click the "Download Media" menu on the left side of the main page, and the poster is at the top of the page under Artwork - it's the third file, National Moment of Remembrance Poster Art. You and your students are encouraged to download and distribute the items as needed.
I hope that all educators and students will join with the President and me in encouraging all Americans to honor the men and women who died in service to our Nation and left us a legacy of service, a heritage of sacrifice, and the gift of freedom. Let us never forget.
Thank you for your support and participation.