Friday, May 25, 2012

What is Memorial Day?

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women's groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, "Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping" by
Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication "To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead" (Source: Duke University's Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920). While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it's difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860's tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, each contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in Gen Logan giving his official proclamation in 1868. It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.
End Quote
  ~ Memorial Day History

Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
I am a Veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom. I have the honor of stating that I was a soldier in the United States Army.

I have the even higher honor of stating that I served amongst the best.

And I have the sadness of adding that I have lost many friends during my time.

These were young men and women. Old men and women. Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, aunts, uncles, grandmothers, grandfathers, cousins, and friends.

They had lives just like everyone else's. They had dreams.

They also had the courage to offer up their lives in defense of their Constitution and Country.

Operation Enduring Freedom Campaign Medal
I have attended countless Memorial ceremonies. I have folded the flag, clad in my uniform, for even more. I have heard the 21-gun salute with tears streaming down my face and grief clouding my vision. I have listened to the Last Roll Call more times than I care to note.

I have shuddered in sadness while family members walked by, proud, strong, and determined, even as they sobbed.

We have all lost so much in the fight. Few as much as these people.

Few as much as those who willingly leave their loved ones to face the rifles and landmines of the enemy. Few as much as those who sent their loved ones off to lands unknown to fight, never knowing what would happen.

Please don't forget my friends, my fellows, my fellow patriots-in-arms. Please don't forget the soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen who have fought for our country since the beginning. Too often, the wars are remembered, but the sacrifices are not.

On this Memorial Day, I ask that you take a moment.

Say a prayer or a few words of thanks.

Please remember those brave souls we have lost to war. Remember their families. Remember their children, their parents, their siblings.

On this day, every year, please remember to Honor the Fallen Heroes of the United States of America.


If you're not from the States, take this time to honor your country's fallen, as we remember them, as well.

To my Country's Allies: 

Thank you. 

I thank you as a soldier who served with them, I thank you as a citizen of the United States, and I thank you as a member of the World.

I thank you for your service. I thank you for your dedication. And I will always remember your losses, as well, for they are a loss to the World, as a whole.


Marine Corporal Mick Bekowsky, who gave his life for his Country on 6 September 2004. I’ll always miss you. Friend to friend. Soldier to Marine.

“And they who for their country die

shall fill an honored grave,

for glory lights the soldier’s tomb

and beauty weeps the brave.”

~ Joseph Drake

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