The holiday we know as Memorial Day began just after the Civil War as a way to remember those who had fallen in those divisive battles.
Originally called Decoration Day
And in addition to the name change, the holiday's scope was expanded. It now is a time to recognize the sacrifices of all U.S. military members.
At 3 p.m. local time today, there will be a National Moment of Remembrance, a time for you to voluntarily and informally observe the holiday.
If you wish to participate in more structured events, as well as learn a bit more about Memorial Day, check out this special
Added tax breaks for the military: Before recessing for the Memorial Day holiday, Congress passed some new tax relief for military families.
The Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act, or HEART Act
It now is awaiting signature by Dubya. That is not a sure thing, since the
If the bill does make it into law, some of the tax provisions of the HEART Act include:
- Making permanent the ability to include combat pay as earned income for purposes of claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit.
- Allowing active-duty reservists to make penalty-free withdrawals from their retirement plans.
- Clarifying that those on active duty who file a joint tax return will be eligible for the economic stimulus rebate payment even if the spouse does not have a Social Security number.
- Permitting military survivors to place death benefits into tax-deferred retirement or savings plans.
- Providing a tax credit for small business employers who make up the difference of wages lost to employees called to active duty.
The measure, supported by major service organizations, also makes thousands of veterans eligible for low-interest home loans.
"This bill is called the HEART Act, but I would prefer to call it the 'Thank You Bill' -- thank you to the tens of thousands of American men and women who have responded to America's call to fight this war and place themselves in harm's way to serve this nation," House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), said when the House passed it.