Remembering on Memorial Day

Bob Anderson, Ph.D., CMSgt.(Ret.)

For many this will be the first Memorial Day to have apersonal meaning. For others, it will be another chance to remember a father,mother, brother, sister or friend that paid the ultimate sacrifice for thiscountry.

For many it will simply be a time to grill a steak, drink abeer and have time off.

In the early days, it was called Decoration Day and itcommemorated U.S.soldiers who died while in the military service. It was first enacted to honor Union and Confederate soldiers following the American CivilWar and then extended after World War I to honor Americans who have died in allwars.

By 1865 the practice of decorating soldiers’ graves hadbecome widespread in the North. The first known observance was in Waterloo, New York on May 5, 1866, and each year thereafter.

It was the friendship between General John Murray andGeneral John A. Logan, that helped bring attention tothe event nationwide and a factor in the holiday’s growth.

By the early 20th century, Memorial Day was an occasion formore general expressions of memory. Ordinary people visited the graves of theirdeceased relatives, whether they had served in the military or not.

Today it has become simply a long weekend increasinglydevoted to shopping, family get-togethers, fireworks, trips to the beach, andnational media events. And that is okay.

However, the purpose of Memorial Day is to help us rememberthe sacrifices made by military members of allages, all conflicts and all branches of service.

To remember that our Freedomis not .

A veteran is someone who has served our country inmilitary service whether they are in the Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guardor Army. With that thought in mind, someone penned the following poem:

It was the Veteran
not the preacher,
who gave us freedom of religion.

It was the Veteran,
not the reporter,
who gave us freedom of the press.

It was the Veteran,
not the poet,
who gave us freedom of speech.

It was the Veteran,
not the campus organizer,

gave us freedom to assemble.

It was the Veteran,

the lawyer,
who gave us the right to a fair trial.

It was the Veteran,

the politician,
who gave us the right to vote.

It was the Veteran who saluted the Flag, who served under the Flag, whogave his oath to support and defend the Constitution and Our Nation against allEnemies, Foreign and Domestic;

willing to give his life to protectyour freedoms and mine; whose coffin is draped by the flag,

allows the protester to burnthe flag.


If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read it inEnglish, thank a Veteran!


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