Memorial Day, now celebrated on the last Monday in May, was traditionally observed on May 30th. This day, originally set aside to honor Soldiers who fell during the Civil War (on both sides), was expanded to honor all service members from all our battles. This gives a good overview of the day, how it has evolved over the years, and what is being done to return it to the day of remembrance it was intended as, vice “the first official three day holiday of summer”.
We all have known Grandfathers, Uncles, Fathers, Brothers, Sons, (and a number of Grandmothers, Aunts, Mothers, Sisters, and Daughters as well) who are at eternal rest, having given their last full measure of devotion, to protect and defend that which they held most dear.
This poem (one of my favorites), perhaps the one most often used in expressing the spirit and general tone this day should convey…
…was written by John McCrae (1872-1918). He is remembered for what is probably the single best-known and popular poem from the war, “In Flanders Fields.” He was a Canadian physician and fought on the Western Front in 1914, but was then transferred to the medical corps and assigned to a hospital in France. He died of pneumonia while on active duty in 1918.
There are any number of ways to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day:
Take time out of your weekend (specifically on Monday) to visit one of the
local cemeteries in your city or town. And pay your respects to those who
have are at rest there. Perhaps you could even plant a small flag if you so
desire in their honor.
The “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution, (passed on Dec 2000)
asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans “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.” For more information about this, go here.
When you see the American Legion handing out “poppies”, usually in front of
a grocery store, Wal-Mart, or perhaps in the local shopping mall, stop-
shake their hand, and donate to their efforts in keeping the spirit of Memorial