WASHINGTON — In May 1996, children visiting Washington were asked what Memorial Day meant.

They responded, “That’s the day the pools open!”

Thus, the National Moment of Remembrance was born.

Congress established the National Moment of Remembrance as a nationwide tribute to those who died in service to our country from the Revolutionary War to the present.

Congress hopes the nation will join together to put the “memorial” back in Memorial Day, and the White House Commission is implementing the wishes of Congress, according to a press release from the commission on the National Moment of Remembrance.

The goal is for Americans to pause in an act of unity on Memorial Day at 3 p.m. local time for a moment of reflection honoring America’s fallen and “rededicating ourselves to giving back to our country in their memory,” according to the release.

“It brings us together as a nation,” said Carmella La Spada, executive director for the commission.

A 2001 Gallup poll indicated that only 28 percent of Americans know the meaning of Memorial Day and most view it as a “day off” rather than a day to connect with our nation’s history by honoring those who gave their lives for us, the group reports.

In addition, the group is dedicating a sand sculpture to veterans of World War II on Sunday.

The sand sculpture, located in Vierville-sur-mer on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France, will be dedicated at 1 p.m. and will be on exhibit through June 6.

On the evenings of June 1-5, children will participate in a Candlelight Remembrance at 9 p.m. to honor those who died on the historic landing beaches — Gold Beach, Juno Beach, Omaha Beach, Sword Beach and Utah Beach.

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