Memorial Day – Decoration Day: Do Not Forget Why!
This coming weekend is Memorial Day here in the States. A big weekend for many! I asked around the other day about Memorial Day and the almost universal response was ‘oh yes, the beginning of summer’.
I was saddened by the total lack of a single response that had to do with the purpose and reason for Memorial Day!
Granted my sample was not scientific, but it made me sad all the same.
I am old enough that I recall when Memorial Day was Decoration Day. Where I grew up it was very important. A community day. A family day. A day that revolved around those in our family who were Veterans and especially those who gave the full measure in their service.
Our community always had a parade. In the lead were any Veterans who wanted to march. Followed by Boy Scouts, Bands, Clubs, and groups of all kinds — all showing their support for those who served.
The parade always ended in the park at the amphitheater. Speeches followed, wreaths were laid. Then the time that everyone waited for.
There were always two buglers hidden from view. One close by. One farther away. They played TAPS in echo and I can still feel the shivers this induced every year. As a matter of fact, I cannot hear TAPS today and not think back to those Decoration/Memorial Days.
A lot of years have passed since those days of my youth, and I have only come to feel more and more strongly about Memorial Day since then.
Plus add to this the facts that I now know as a family historian and genealogist! Back then I knew my dad and my uncle were in World War II, but that was about it. Sure, I knew we visited graves of other family, but as a child it was a bit removed.
Now I know that our family was filled with Veterans …. as your families most likely are too!
I discovered that my great Uncle Phillips died in Flanders Fields in World War I. I had Veterans in the Indian Wars, Spanish-American War, World War I and II, and cousins who lost their lives in Korea and Vietnam.
So, please, as you kick off your summer …. as you prep the barbecue, and gather for the long weekend, I ask that you join in at 3 pm your local time and observe the one minute of National silence in honor and memory of all our departed who paid the ultimate price so we can all be here …. free!
Before we start our day, you will find me out at the cemetery paying my respects.
Have a lovely Memorial Day!
Onward To Our Past,