While the media’s attention is focused on the Veterans Association’s Special Lists, I ask that the citizens’ remember to place the blame squarely where it belongs…on the bureaucrats running the VA Hospital’s and staff. This Administration has a long history of dragging its feet to provide the promised benefits to our veterans. Some time ago the complaint was on shabby hospital facilities and staffing? Has that issue been dealt with? It’s time to demand that the folks who run the VA program to cleanup their own backyard and treat our Vet’s with the respect and dignity befitting those who have dedicated their lives to protect our Country.
Now that I’ve got that rant off of my chest, please take a moment to read about the history of the “Memorial Day Holiday.” Where it took root and how to nurture and honor its intent.
~ Kris Halterman
Here, you can read the proclamation and the prayer for peace rendered by the President of the United States of America on Memorial Day’s Eve, last year.
“For more than two centuries, Americans have been called to defend the founding ideals of our democracy. On Memorial Day, a grateful Nation remembers the proud patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of liberty’s blessings.
From the opening battles of the American Revolution through the turmoil of the Civil War, to World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, to the Persian Gulf and today’s operations in the war on terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, and around the world, the members of our military have built a tradition of honorable and faithful service. As we observe Memorial Day, we remember the more than one million Americans who have died to preserve our freedom, the more than 140,000 citizens who were prisoners of war, and all those who were declared missing in action. Read more.
On May 5, 1868, the Grand Army of the Republic established Memorial Day or Decoration Day as the national day to decorate the graves of the Civil War soldiers with flowers. Major General John A. Logan appointed May 30 as the day to be observed. Arlington National Cemetery had the first observance of the day on a grand scale. The place was appropriate as it already housed graves of over 20,000 Union dead and several hundred Confederate dead. Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant presided the meeting and the center point of these Memorial Day ceremonies was the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington mansion. Speeches were followed by a march of soldiers’ children and orphans and members of the GAR through the cemetery strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves. They also recited prayers and sang hymns for the dead. Read more.
As Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. said in his Memorial Day address in 1884 at Keene, Memorial Day ‘celebrates and solemnly reaffirms from year to year a national act of enthusiasm and faith.’ With changing times, Memorial Day is more celebrated as a holiday than the glum occasion it was meant for. We must remember that the day means to honor of America’s defense personnel who lost their lives in various wars. Though, people used to honor the graves of the war dead even before the Civil War, the National Memorial Day holiday, originally known as ‘Decoration Day’ was first observed on May 30, 1868. Read more.
Flowers are as much a symbol of mourning and heart-felt wishes for the peace of soul of the dead as they are of gaiety and happiness. Memorial Day is the day to decorate the graves of our brave and patriotic soldiers with wreaths, bouquets, flowers and garlands. Honor the old and disabled war veterans that have earned glory for their nation by gifting them flowers and floral bouquets. Show them that you care for them and respect them for what they have done and endured for us in the rougher times to let us live in peace by giving them gift baskets and beautiful flower arrangements. Read more.
A number of memorials were raised in the honor of the victims and heroes of the fateful September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, throughout America, besides the famous sites such as the World Trade Center, Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The first memorial was erected in Tucson, Arizona dedicated to Captain Jack D. Punches, a passenger in the plane that hit the Pentagon. A sculpture at Los Angeles airport Theme Building, California, is dedicated to them and depicts a compass with words and phrases reflecting national rights, visions and ideals. Another memorial dedicated to the 343 New York City firefighters who sacrificed their lives while helping the victims is situated at the Fire Department Training Center in Los Angeles. It is a 23-ft steel column that was part of the lobby of the World Trade Center. Read more.
Here is a collection of some of the most famous Memorial Day quotes and sayings:
- Freedom of speech and freedom of action are meaningless without freedom to think. And there is no freedom of thought without doubt. -Bergen Evans
- Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. -Senator Barry Goldwater
- Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. -William Pitt
- Chance has never yet satisfied the hope of a suffering people. Action, self-reliance, the vision of self and the future have been the only means by which the oppressed have seen and realized the light of their own freedom. -Marcus Garvey
- In war, there is no prize for the runner-up. -General Omar Bradley
- So long as there are men there will be wars. -Albert Einstein
- The cost of liberty is less than the cost of repression. -Web Dubois
- The purpose of all war is ultimately peace. -Saint Augustine
- And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free, and I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me and I’ll proudly stand next to him to defend her still today, ‘cuz there ain’t no doubt I love this land, god bless the USA. -Lee Greenwood
- Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty. -John F. Kennedy
- Future years will never know the seething hell and the black infernal background, the countless minor scenes and interiors of the secession war; and it is best they should not. The real war will never get in the books. -Walt Whitman
- The story of America’s quest for freedom is inscribed on her history in the blood of her patriots. -Randy Vader
- The dead soldier’s silence sings our national anthem. -Rev. Aaron Kilbourn
- Peace is more important than all justice; and peace was not made for the sake of justice, but justice for the sake of peace. -Martin Luther
- The greatest glory of a free-born people is to transmit that freedom to their children. -William Havard