Memorial Day Reflections – Honoring Our Fallen Heroes
When Memorial Day comes around most of us are planning a three day weekend at the beach or other getaway or planning the food for our picnic or outdoor barbecue. Over the years, I have been guilty of perhaps spending more time on what fun activities I have planned for my weekend rather than spending the time in sober reflection for the contributions that our military and fallen heroes have sacrificed for our nation’s preservation of freedom. So, this blog post might go a little way to correcting that error and be my small contribution to remembering our fallen heroes and veterans.
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. In spite of all these claims, it is more likely that the day had many separate beginnings; each of those towns usually had a planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead and was predominately started in the 1860’s in order to meet the general human need to honor our fallen heroes.
Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. Many feel that when Congress made the day into a three-day weekend via the National Holiday Act of 1971, it made it all the easier for people to be distracted from the spirit and meaning of the day. Since the year 2000, a resolution was passed which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, 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”.
The following is a video I created last year to honor our veterans.
“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”
Happy Memorial Day!!!