Let me begin by saying as a genealogy fan I am a bit long in the tooth. I have been around long enough to remember when this ‘holiday’ went by the name of Decoration Day, not Memorial Day. I am also old enough to recall when it was not always on a Monday to provide for a three-day weekend.
In my hometown this was always a weekend for, what to us in that town, was a grand parade. It was always led by our town’s veterans and followed by every local school marching band, VFW, American Legion, and Boy Scout troop. We would wind our way through town finally ending up in the local park’s amphitheater for speeches, a wreath presentation, and then to conclude the event Taps was played. I still get goose bumps when I hear Taps anytime, but back then it was an incredibly moving experience. One bugler was on site in front of the crowd. A second bugler was behind us and across a small lake. As the front player would play, the ‘hidden’ player would echo the notes.
Memorial Day was always a difficult holiday for my dad. He was a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army during WWII. He landed at Omaha Beach and soon after his arrival he and a squad of men were given the horrific duty of being a graves registration team. My dad only spoke of this duty once and he explained the absolute hell of having to retrieve dog tags from his fallen comrades in arms and worse when he would have to enter burned out tanks to retrieve remains and dog tags.
Often as a young boy I would ask my dad ‘Who are you thinking about today that makes you so sad, Dad?’ He would respond “Too many to name, Scott”.
Now, decades later, I think of that response often at this time of year. It makes this weekend all the more important.
Did you know that in 2000, President Clinton established a “National Moment of Remembrance” during Memorial Day? Well, he did and I for one think it is a great idea.
In December of 2000, his resolution was passed and a National Moment of Remembrance was established.
It takes place at 3:00 your local time. It is simple, easy, and wonderful!
The resolution calls for all Americans “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of Remembrance and Respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to Taps.”
So I know exactly what I will be doing at 3:00 pm Monday. I will be standing on my front porch, saluting our flag, and playing my favorite recording of Taps …. and yes, it has that twin trumpet echo in it!
So little we have to do. Just take a moment and remember all those who have given their all, for all those who have served, and all those who now serve.
Please put this on your refrigerator door, put it in your Smart Phone, put it on your calendar. BUT put it somewhere so you, too, join in this important Moment!
Onward To Our Past®