HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY

Posted: May 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Next week we celebrate a holiday that officially starts the summer holiday period.  Swimming pools open, state parks begin special summer events and school is out for the summer.  Memorial Day is a celebration of the beginning of fun.  In fact, it is meant to be a more somber occasion and instead of commemorate life it is meant to honor the dead.

Originally Memorial Day was known as Decoration’s Day and commemorated the dead of the Northern Soldiers killed in the civil war.  Before the first official commemoration the South also began celebrating the dead of the civil war.  Later in the 20th century the two celebrations were combined and the Holiday is the last Monday of May.  Memorial Day was established to be on a day that no major battle occurred thus the holiday was not to honor a battle but instead to commemorate those that gave the ultimate sacrifice for their cause.  Later it would expand to commemorate anyone who gave their life for the United States in war.  May was also selected since that was a time that so many flowers were blooming and the blooms would be used to decorate the graves.

Northern Memorial Day began in 1868.  183 cemeteries held ceremonies that year and the next year the celebrations grew to 336.  Originally speeches were given by politicians, clergy and veterans that commemorated the dead as well as tell of the atrocities of the enemy.  The South began celebrating the holiday in 1866 and coined the term Memorial Day. The 1866 commemoration was held in Columbus, Mississippi.  Women went out and laid flowers on the graves of the dead, not only Southern soldiers but also the graves of Union soldiers.

As America grew it went to war to defend freedom and protect the oppressed around the world, the young men and women who gave their lives for the United States grew in numbers.  Dead from the Spanish American War, World War I and II, Korea, Viet Nam through Desert Storm and the war on terrorism have filled our cemeteries.  And while the numbers are enormous the message is still clear, America is not just a country but it is an ideal, a moral monument that is worth defending and if required, dying for.

So this year, let’s go out to ball games, eat hot dogs and burgers, swim and enjoy each other’s company; but let’s also take the time to remember those that gave the ultimate sacrifice for the United States and its’ precious principals. 

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