Monday, May 31, 2010

Bits and Pieces on Memorial Day

This is a tough holiday. On one hand, we want to enjoy the time off by firing up the grill and having a big cookout with friends and family. On the other hand, we want to think of the friends and family members we've lost over the years. Like most folks, I have a lot of them to think about.

We especially honor those who have died in the service of our country. They are our fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters. Remember.

The National Moment of Remembrance asks Americans to pause wherever they are in an act of national unity (duration: one minute) at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day. Participation can be as informal as one minute of silence or ringing a bell three times to signify the Moment. For more information, visit the National Moment of Remembrance website.


Memorial Day was first celebrated in 1868. The full story can be found at Memorial Day History. I remember my grandmother calling it Decoration Day. She always gathered buckets of flowers, especially peonies and iris, to carry to the cemetery to decorate the graves of all family members.

It was originally intended that Memorial Day be observed on May 30th and have a single focus. By changing the date to the last Monday in May, thus giving working Americans a three-day weekend, some feel Congress may have undermined the day's original purpose. It doesn't seem that way, however, when we see the number of special events across the country.

The one single, but huge, symbolic act to catch my attention is the Boy Scouts of America flag project. For forty-two years, Scouts have decorated the graves of our veterans across the country with miniature American flags. In Willamette National Cemetery in Oregon, for instance, 140,000 graves were so honored.

I hope you enjoy the blessings of family and friends on this special day.

16 comments:

WELCOME TO MY WORLD OF POETRY: said...

It is a public holiday for us , it's Spring Bank Holiday, we have our rememberance day in November the nearest Sunday to the 11th. we have a 2 minute silence at 11am,

Have a good day.
Yvonne.

Simon Hay Soul Healer said...

In Australia we honour Anzac day. Memorial day sounds like a special day. We should never forget those who have fallen. I was lucky enough to work with two old diggers when I was a teen. They shared war stories and it was a humbling experience. I'm forever in their debt; they made me a better young man. I cannot imagine what they endured, but I never want to forget. On my holiday to New Zealand I visited a Maori cemetery for serviceman. This was on a plaque - Tukuna ana o ratua tinana kia ao ake ano te ra apopo - They gave their day for our tomorrow. It was so peaceful and the emotion choked me up.

I hope you've had a peaceful and happy day. Bless you and family, Simon.

Jan Morrison said...

In Canada, Remembrance Day is November 11th and it is that day where-ever it falls in the week. It is more and more important to me to remember as the ones I'm thinking of are gone or nearing their deaths. My father was a pilot in WWII and up until a few years ago was in touch with his entire team. Now there is him and one other fellow who suffers from dementia so is not really present.
Thanks for your post - I will stop at three. For us it is 11:11 AM.

Michele Emrath said...

Thank you for these links and the history. I did a memorial post today on my blog, too. Important day in my book!

It's always interesting to hear what holidays other people celebrate around the world. I love this international blogging community we have.

I'll remember 3pm! Thanks.

Michele
Southern City Mysteries

Mason Canyon said...

Very informative post. Thanks for sharing. Hope you have a safe and Happy Memorial Day.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

Terry Odell said...

I recall Decoration Day - and veterans selling paper poppies on street corners.

Clarissa Draper said...

Yeah, I don't know about here in Mexico but in Canada, it's different. Enjoy your day of rest and reflection.

CD

Jeanie said...

I also remember it being called Decoration Day and going to the cemetery to put flowers on the graves of family members. The Boulder Bolder seems to have taken the day over around here, but they do have some nice tributes to the fallen soldiers at the stadium part of the event.

Linda L. Henk said...

I will go to the cemetery later this morning with flowers. Veterans' graves are marked with flags by the Boys Scouts. It's especially touching to see the flag on my father's grave. He fought in WWII, received a Purple Heart and a Silver Star. I'm very proud of him and his service.

Thanks for the head's up about observing a moment of silence at 3:00 p.m. I had not heard.

Elspeth Antonelli said...

No matter which day is chosen, remembering those who gave the "final measure of devotion" for their countries is a vital act. Bless them all.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I’ve blogged on the same topic today and visited other blogs talking about Memorial Day. I’ve picked up new information from each, including yours. Thanks. Hope you have a wonderful day.

Ann Best said...

Thanks for this posting this background about the day. Yes, so many wonderful activities are going on all around the country. Memorial Day to me has always been about family. I have so many fond memories, too, about those who have passed on.

Jemi Fraser said...

I love what the Boy Scouts do. Thanks for the information - I didn't know that much about your Memorial Day. :)

Ellie said...

Nicely done! I was with my son in Pensacola, FL and we decorated the gravestones with flags. There were a lot of stones, but I will never forget the moment and what it signified! We all felt it was so important and life changing to be part of this gesture of remembrance. Thanks for reminding me of that day~

Cat Woods said...

Thank you for the commentary and the reminder about this treasured national holiday.

Our town flies a flag for every deceased service member in our area. Sadly, we flew nine more flags this year than last year.

I am indebted to those who have given me so many rights and freedoms.

hugs~ cat

Linda L. Henk said...

I found out that the Boy Scouts put out 4000 flags on veterans' graves in three hours at Grandview Cemetery. There was one on my Dad's grave and it meant so much to see it there.