Amidst the 3-day weekend, time off from work and school, family gatherings, picnics, auto racing, movies and outdoor cookouts, let us not forget the true meaning of Memorial Day, and so I leave you with these tidbits to share with your family. I hope that you find it helpful in marking this Day of Remembrance & Respect.
The Memorial Day website says:
"Memorial Day used to be a solemn day of mourning, a sacred day of remembrance to honor those who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms. Businesses closed for the day. Towns held parades honoring the fallen, the parade routes often times ending at a local cemetery, where Memorial Day speeches were given and prayers offered up. People took the time that day to clean and decorate with flowers and flags the graves of those the fell in service to their country."Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic." -- General Logan - May 5, 1868We need to remember with sincere respect those who paid the price for our freedoms; we need to keep in sacred remembrance those who died serving their country. We need to never let them be forgotten.
However, over the years the original meaning and spirit of Memorial Day has faded from the public consciousness."If it is considered a holiday, why is it so? I consider it to be a national day of mourning. This is how we observe this day in our home. Because of what that day represents the rest of the days of the year are our holidays." --On Memorial Day we need to stop and pay with sincere conviction our respects for those who died protecting and preserving the freedoms we enjoy, for we owe those honored dead more than we can ever repay."
F L LloydWest Chester, Pa USA - February 26, 2000
Please also take a moment,
amidst all of your celebrations,
at 3:00 p.m. on Monday, May 25th,
to observe a moment of silence
in remembrance of
all who have fallen for our freedom.
The AII POW-MIA Website shares this with us:
"A humanitarian activist organization called, No Greater Love, which exists to educate and perpetuate observances and remembrances for those killed in war or as the result of terrorist actions and to support the surviving family members with programs and a sense of community, began a campaign in 1997 to create a National Moment of Silence.
The campaign was designed to bring the 'Memorial" back into Memorial Day and to insure Americans took a brief moment out of their Memorial Day activities to stand in silence and remember those who gave their lives in defense of the nation and to be thankful to them.
Congress then passed a National Moment of Remembrance resolution titled, S.Con.Res 100, which was introduced by Senators Chuck Hagel and Bob Kerrey, both of Nebraska.
It Reads -"To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to 'Taps.'"
SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 100 SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 100--EXPRESSING SUPPORT OF CONGRESS FOR A NATIONAL MONUMENT OF REMEMBRANCE TO BE OBSERVED AT 3:00 P.M. EASTERN STANDARD TIME ON EACH MEMORIAL DAY (Senate - March 29, 2000)"
Our own U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs tells us this:
"This was the poem written by World War I Colonel John McCrae, a surgeon with Canada 's First Brigade Artillery. It expressed McCrae's grief over the "row on row" of graves of soldiers who had died on Flanders' battlefields, located in a region of western Belgium and northern France.
The poem presented a striking image of the bright red flowers blooming among the rows of white crosses and became a rallying cry to all who fought in the First World War. The first printed version of it reportedly was in December 1915, in the British magazine Punch.
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.McCrae's poem had a huge impact on two women, Anna E. Guerin of France and Georgia native Moina Michael. Both worked hard to initiate the sale of artificial poppies to help orphans and others left destitute by the war. By the time Guerin established the first sale in the U.S., in 1920 with the help of The American Legion, the poppy was well known in the allied countries — America, Britain, France, Canada, Australia and New Zealand — as the "Flower of Remembrance." Proceeds from that first sale went to the American and French Children's League.
However, a shortage of poppies from French manufacturers led to the idea of using unemployed and disabled veterans to produce the artificial flowers. In 1924, a poppy factory was built in Pittsburgh, Pa., providing a reliable source of poppies and a practical means of assistance to veterans. Today, veterans at VA medical facilities and veterans homes help assemble the poppies, which are distributed by veterans service organizations throughout the country.
Donations received in return for these artificial poppies have helped countless veterans and their widows, widowers and orphans over the years. The poppy itself continues to serve as a perpetual tribute to those who have given their lives for the nation's freedom."