Memorial and Remembrance

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General John A. Logan
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [LC-B8172- 6403 DLC (b&w film neg.)]

MEMORIAL

Tomorrow March 27 is Memorial day. It is a three-day weekend. It is a day to have barbeques. It is a day to enjoy family. It is a a day to remember our Heroes who have fallen, who have gave their lives so we can enjoy our freedoms. While some of us go out and put flags on graves of the fallen, how many of us really know what Memorial Day is? How many of us totally understand the sacrifice. I am not just talking about those who have served, I am talking about the number of veterans I have talked to, that have shared their stories with me, they know. They know what is it like to lose your best friend in a heartbeat, to see an entire patrol gone in an instant, they know what it is like to “Run through the jungle”. (Run Through The Jungle, Creedence Clearwater Revival 1970)

Memorial day actually came in to being as Decoration Day and was originally to honor those who fell during the Civil War. The Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, The National Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

US Army Lt. Col Brandon Robbins, a member of the 3rd US Infantry Regiment, "The Old Guard" , places a flag at the foot of a US military member's gravestone in Arlington National Cemetery's Section 60, where many of the US Iraq and Afghanistan casualities are buried, May 27, 2010. The placing of the flags is part of the traditions celebrated for the Memorial Day national holiday.   AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

US Army Lt. Col Brandon Robbins, a member of the 3rd US Infantry Regiment, “The Old Guard” , places a flag at the foot of a US military member’s gravestone in Arlington National Cemetery’s Section 60, where many of the US Iraq and Afghanistan casualities are buried, May 27, 2010. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873 and by 1890 it was recognized by all of the Northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days. It wasn’t until  after World War I, when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war that the entire country came to gather in remembrance. . Now every state celebrates on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays).

REMEMBRANCE

So what you doing tomorrow at 3 pm? Maybe in the heart of your barbeque, your picnic.  Perhaps you need to take advantage of those great deals down at the car dealership, or shopping the great sales at the mall? You could be driving home form your mini vacation. Or just relaxing maybe watching TV, a movie or a baseball game.

Whatever it is your are doing on 3 pm, chances are you are enjoying the freedoms that our military  men and women have fought, many of them died for.  With that thought in mind the National Moment of Remembrance was established by Congress in Dec 2000. The National Moment of Remembrance 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 , to pause in an act of national unity for a duration of one minute. Zachary-Leetham

The Moment does not replace traditional Memorial Day events; rather, it is an act of national unity in which all Americans, alone or with family and friends, honor those who died in service to the United States.

So join me tomorrow in not only enjoying our family, our friends, our freedoms but in remembering why we have those thing., why we have the ability to celebrate or not, heck, to even protest those very soldiers who died for us. I know that at 3 pm on May, 27  I will take a moment, bow my head and reflect on how lucky I am.