Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died serving our country.
The day was officially proclaimed in 1868, with the first observance happening at Arlington Cemetery, where flowers were put on Union and Confederate soldiers’ graves.
In 1915, Moina Michael wrote this poem in response to Memorial Day, found at USMemorialDay.org:
We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
The U.S. is now approaching birthday number 232 and, in that time, millions of Americans have made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom – a word that is synonymous with this nation.
According to Military Times, more than 4,400 died in the American Revolution, 2,260 in the War of 1812, 13,283 in the Mexican War, 529,511 recorded – with many others who likely weren’t – in the Civil War, 2,446 in the Spanish-American War, 116,516 in World War I and 405,399 in World War II, 36,574 in the Korean War and 58,209 in the Vietnam War, 383 in the Persian Gulf War, 496 in Operation Enduring Freedom and 4,069 in Operation Iraqi Freedom – and counting.
That’s just including numbers from major conflicts that American soldiers have headed out to the front lines for.
In 2000, the "National Moment of Remembrance" resolution was passed, asking that at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day, all American’s voluntarily and informally observe a moment of remembrance and respect for fallen heroes.
Memorial Day activities that keep true to the meaning of the day might include visiting cemeteries and placing flags or flowers on the graves of fallen heroes, visiting a memorial or service, flying the American Flag at half-mast on Monday until noon or flying the POW/MIA flag, participating in the Moment of Remembrance, or making a pledge to aid veterans or widows, widowers and orphans of fallen soldiers.
Whatever you may end up doing this weekend, it’s important not to forget the meaning behind it.
- Bryan County News
May 24, 2008