Memorial Day

Memorial Day

By:  Garland Davis

Image may contain: tree, plant, sky, grass, outdoor and nature

Unfortunately, many Americans have come to confuse Memorial Day with Armed Forces Day, where we celebrate those Americans presently serving in the Armed Forces and Veteran’s Day where we celebrate those who have served and are no longer serving.

The Memorial Holiday Weekend is not about the new car or mattress sales.  Nor is it about baseball games or automobile races, picnics or campouts.  It is a day set aside to remember and honor the hundreds of thousands of Americans who gave their lives to the United States while serving in the Armed Forces.  Many Americans have relatives or know someone who lost their life in service to the United States.  A cousin I never knew, was lost flying fighter planes over Italy in WWII.  Another cousin died in Korea attempting to bring the wounded, under his care, to safety. I remember my good friend and shipmate CS2 Ronald Muise who is still at sea in USS Thresher.  Those of us who served in a carrier know of someone who gave his life on the flight deck, “the most dangerous six acres in the world.”  And we all know someone who gave his life in our generation’s war, Viet Nam. Many of us know someone suffering from the ravages of Agent Orange, a person killed in Viet Nam who just hasn’t died yet.

In 1866 a Northern town in New York and a Southern town of Georgia began the practice of memorializing their war dead.  The towns of Waterloo, New York and Columbus, Georgia remembered their lost sons by placing flowers and plants upon their graves.  On May 26, 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation recognizing Waterloo as the birthplace of Memorial Day and became an official holiday in 1971.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed services. The holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May, originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868, when the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans founded in Decatur, Illinois, established it as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. By the 20th century, competing Union and Confederate holiday traditions, celebrated on different days, had merged, and Memorial Day eventually extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service.

Our National Cemeteries, on Memorial Day, have nothing to do with the sweep and grandeur of history, nor the gigantic commitment of resources to battles and wars; nor grand strategies and brilliant tactics. They are places where – and the day when – we remember the individual men and women who were killed at Bull Run, and Belleau-Wood, at Iwo Jima, on Omaha Beach, and in Korea, Viet Nam, Afghanistan, and Iraq and all the other un-locatable places with unpronounceable names where we have too often sent young men and women to fight and, too often, to die.

I’m not saying that you should not celebrate the holiday weekend. Watch the car race, go to the beach, have a cookout, I only ask that you pause for a minute and remember that

Some Gave All

By:  Billy Ray Cyrus

I knew a man, called him Sandy Kane
Few folks even knew his name
But a hero, yes, was he
Left a boy, came back a man
Still many just don’t understand
About the reasons that we are free

I can’t forget the look in his eyes
Or the tears he cries
As he said these words to me

“All gave some and some gave all
And some stood through for the red, white and blue
And some had to fall
And if you ever think of me
Think of all your liberties and recall
Some gave all”

Sandy Kane is no longer here
But his words are oh so clear
As they echo throughout our land
For all his friends who gave us all
Who stood the ground and took the fall
To help their fellow men

Love your country and live with pride
And don’t forget those who died
America can’t you see?

All gave some and some gave all
And some stood through for the Red, white and blue
And some had to fall
And if you ever think of me
Think of all your liberties and recall
Some gave all

And if you ever think of me
Think of all your liberties and recall, yes recall
Some gave all
Some gave all

In Flanders Fields

By:  John McCrae, May 1915

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.


4 thoughts on “Memorial Day

  1. says:



  2. Glenn Stang says:

    And so another day of remembrance fades to history. To most it was a long weekend. For those who served in our time we never forget.


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