Thoughts on Memorial Day and balloons

Balloons are pretty until they become ocean trash

Memorial Day was first observed May 30, 1868 to honor those who fought and died during the Civil War. According to the U.S. Memorial Day website, this was done by placing flowers on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

Obviously, a lot has changed since 1868. Now Memorial Day is an official federal holiday, it’s a day set aside to honor Americans who have died in all battles, not just the Civil War, and Memorial Day ceremonies now take place across the nation. For me, Memorial Day is a day to set aside time to thank and remember all the Americans who have lost their lives for the freedoms I enjoy daily and take for granted. The freedom to say what I want, the freedom to write anything on this blog, the freedom to wear what I choose, the freedom to vote and the freedom to think for myself.

There are so many ways to honor the soldiers who have made the greatest sacrifice of all for our country…their lives. Some ceremonies will include musical performances, aerial fly-overs and parades to give people an opportunity to give thanks in a more spectacular way. And while no action may seem big enough considering the price they paid, it’s truly the personal heartfelt sentiments of gratitude that count.

But is it necessary to release balloons? Absolutely not. Releasing balloons on Memorial Day along the coast eventually equates to honoring the death of our soldiers with the death of marine life. The very brief action of releasing balloons leads to long-term consequences once those balloons fall from the sky and end up in the ocean as trash. And what is a balloon anyway? It’s just a piece of plastic full of air. Hardly something worthy of honoring our fallen soldiers.

For readers living in the United States please contact Jennifer at Green Hills Memorial Park by calling (310) 831-0311 and ask her not to allow the release of 1,500 balloons during a Memorial Day ceremony. Let her know that the beautiful ceremony they have planned would be so much better without releasing balloons and suggest placing flowers on the graves instead, just like Americans did on the very first Memorial Day so long ago.


  1. Scott Ritchie says

    I couldn’t agree more. Thank you for bringing this to the attention of everyone. The marine life are our future!!

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