Let us not treat this gift as a cheap one.
Let us honor the liberty bought for us by men in uniform.
I decided to make a quick theme for this long weekend and leave it up until Tuesday, hence the different header and background!
We all know when Memorial Day is, but how many of us know the true history behind it or even remember why this day is celebrated?
I thought I would share it today, not only for those who have forgotten, but for those like my family and friends overseas who may not know the reason behind this day.
Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers.
Maj. Gen. 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 first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.
The ceremonies centered around the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington mansion, once the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Various Washington officials, including Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, presided over the ceremonies. After speeches, children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home and members of the GAR made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns.
It was not until after World War I, however, that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress, though it is still often called Decoration Day. It was then also placed on the last Monday in May, as were some other federal holidays.
Gen. Logan’s order for his posts to decorate graves in 1868 “with the choicest flowers of springtime” urged: “We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. ... Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.”
The crowd attending the first Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery was approximately the same size as those that attend today’s observance, about 5,000 people. Then, as now, small American flags were placed on each grave — a tradition followed at many national cemeteries today. In recent years, the custom has grown in many families to decorate the graves of all departed loved ones.
To ensure the sacrifices of America ’s fallen heroes are never forgotten, in December 2000, the U.S. Congress passed and the president signed into law “The National Moment of Remembrance Act,” P.L. 106-579, creating the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance. The commission’s charter is to “encourage the people of the United States to give something back to their country, which provides them so much freedom and opportunity” by encouraging and coordinating commemorations in the United States of Memorial Day and the National Moment of Remembrance.
The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation. As Moment of Remembrance founder Carmella LaSpada states: “It’s a way we can all help put the memorial back in Memorial Day.”
Tens of thousands of names are inscribed on war memorials and headstones all across this country and in a number of overseas locations. From a distance, those names may seem indistinguishable. Yet, every husband or wife, mother or father, brother or sister, son or daughter, who visits, will always see his or her loved one’s name first. This Memorial Day, we also honor and thank them – those who placed so much on the altar of Freedom and for whom the pain of loss remains undiminished.I thank every single soldier who served and continues to serve this amazing country.
Like Mari's son Andy, Michelle's husband Joe, Courtney's husband Matt, Laina's husband Eric, Christina's husband Dominic, Autumn's husband, Keri's husband Jason, Eden's husband Steve, Andrea's husband Daniel, Niki's husband, Laura's husband Brandon, my friends back here on base....Katrina's husband Joe (currently deployed), Heather's husband Troy, Alicia's husband Stephen and Jen's husband Charles..........
and last but certainly not least....my very own soldier, who I love more than life and am extremely blessed to still be able to thank in person, to his face, something that other families unfortunately can not do.