ON MEMORIAL DAY ... I ask all true, patriotic Americans - While you enjoy your parades, picnics and barbeques, please remember those who laid down their lives for you to have such celebrations.
Memorial Day is much more than a three-day weekend that marks the beginning of summer.
To many people, especially the nation's thousands of combat veterans, this day, which has a history stretching back all the way to the Civil War, is an important reminder of those who died in the service of their country. We should never forget its meaning and traditions. Sadly, the graves of the fallen are often ignored or neglected and many do not remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead - not just those fallen in service to our country.
Our citizens have become distracted from the spirit and meaning of the day. To me, it is NOT a holiday, but rather a HOLY DAY. It is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service!
Therefore, I feel it is my duty as the wife of a deployed U.S. Marine and as the President and Founder of Give2TheTroops, Inc. to educate those who do not understand the real significance of Memorial Day.
Memorial Day is dedicated for taking time to honor those who serve and have served, especially those who gave the ultimate sacrifice of their lives.
The first official Memorial Day celebration was held in the United States in May 1868, three years after the Civil War ended. On that day, which was then called Decoration Day, people remembered the war dead by decorating their graves with flowers.
Major General John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.
The poem below was written by WWI Colonel John McCrae. It expressed McCrae's grief over the row after row of graves of soldiers who had died on Flanders' battlefields (a region of western Belgium and northern France). The poem presented a striking image of the bright red flowers blooming among the rows of white crosses.
In Flanders Fields
By John McCrae
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.
In 1915, inspired by "In Flanders Fields:, Moina Michael created her own poem:
We cherish too, the Poppy redShe then conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial Day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need.On Memorial Day the flag should be flown at half-staff from sunrise until noon only, then raised briskly to the top of the staff until sunset, in honor of the nation's battle heroes.
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
DID YOU KNOW? ... Memorial Day is celebrated at Arlington National National Cemetery with a ceremony in which a small American flag is placed on each grave. For the past 40 years, before each Memorial Day, Army Soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard) honor America's servicemen killed or wounded in action that are buried at Arlington National Cemetery by placing an American flag on each gravestone.
This tradition, called "flags in " has been an annual activity since 1948. Flags are placed on more than 260,000 gravesites at Arlington for Memorial Day. After the three-day weekend, the flags are removed.
Also, it is customary for the President or Vice-President to give a speech honoring the contributions of the dead and lay a wreath at the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier.PLEASE REMEMBER OUR FALLEN TROOPS THIS WEEKEND!
Throughout our history, thousands of brave Americans have died serving their country and fighting for their beliefs. From the American Revolution to our current war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the numbers of battle deaths speak to the sacrifices our troops, and their families, have made.
4,435 - American Revolution (1775-1783)
2,260 - War of 1812 (1812-1815)
1,733 - Mexican War (1846-1848 )
140,414 (Union) and 74,524 (Confederate) - Civil War (1861-1865)
385 - Spanish-American War (1898-1902)
53,402 - World War I (1917-1918 )
291,557 - World War II (1941-1945)
33,686 - Korean War (1950-1953)
47,410 - Vietnam War (1964-1975)
147 - Gulf War (1990-1991)
4070 - Iraqi Freedom (Iraq) (2001-present)
496 - Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) (2001-present)
May God bless all our troops for their selflessness and sacrifices and may America never forget those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.