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Memorial Day, A Day For Remembering!
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Memorial Day - The Beginning
On May 6th, 1866 the town of Waterloo, New York decided to honor the soldiers that had fallen in the Civil War by flying their flags at half mast and by decorating the graves of those who had fallen. On this day veterans led processions to three different cemeteries marching to martial music. At each cemetery General John B Marshall gave a lengthy sermon on the dedication and sacrifice shown by these soldiers.
Little did they know that this show of gratitude would be recognized and adopted as a national holiday by the United States of America. Little did they know how many others would be sacrificed in the name of freedom through the following years, and how deeply rooted this tradition of honor would become.
- Waterloo, New York
- May 5, 1866
Acceptance By A Nation!
On May 5th, 1868 General John Logan issued General Orders No.11, WASHINGTON, D.C.. It has been stated in other articles, and I agree, that it is not important where the origins of this day come from. What is important is that we celebrate it with reverence for those that have given their lives in the service of our country. As the son of a WWII veteran I would also like to add the importance of remembering those that lived through the horrors of war. Most of them continued to give through disabilities, which can include physical and mental problems, and can last a lifetime. I have attached some Newspapers found on Footnote that tell stories of Memorial Days in the past. I hope you enjoy them. I tried to pick times that coincided with wars of that period.
- United States
Poppies and the VFW
As a boy growing up in California I have a deep remembrance of plastic red poppies being given out on Memorial Day by the VFW. They would look for donations at that time and my parents would always give. I still look for the VFW members to this day so that I can donate and wear a red poppy. I have generations of soldiers in my family. I wondered where this tradition actually came from?
In Flanders Fields
By John McCrae
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
As WWI wound down a Georgia girl by the name of Moina Michael was inspired by the poem "In Flander's Field", by John McCrea. She pursued the idea of making a red poppy the symbolic flower remembering those who had fought to protect us. She was successful in her endeavors and her story is in the paper above. The Veterans of Foreign Wars continue today to pass out red poppies in hope of donations to their group.
My View On Memorial Day!
It has been a long road for us as a nation. We have jumped from one war to another trying to define who we are. One of the saddest we experienced was our own Civil War. Through it all we have survived. The United States of America is the greatest nation on the earth today. We are not without our problems and we make mistakes more often than anyone cares to admit. However, we are a free people and even in these difficult times our standard of living ranks up at the top of the world. Will we always be this way? History tells us no. No nation continues to stay on top. Sooner or later we will have our time. Until that time comes we have our service men to thank for our good fortune and successes. Had it not been for their valiant efforts during the wars we could be looking at a completely different scenario of our life.
As it stands right now we tend to forget the lives that have been sacrificed. If we do remember it is usually only a passing moment. We are so busy in our spheres trying to get ahead that we sacrifice the time it takes to remember. That time reminds us to be thankful, not only for their lives, but then for the bounty that we have. Here is a Memorial Day Video that was shared with me. Listen with your heart and remember those who have given us so much!