Sunday, May 29, 2016

Memorial Day!

The reason there is a Memorial Day is easily forgotten.  There are Memorial Day sales, it is the beginning of summer, it’s a long weekend and we don’t have to work Monday, of all this we are aware.

But I wonder how many of us remember that originally it was called Decoration Day.  In 1868 the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union Civil War veterans, designated the last Monday in May as a day to decorate the graves of the Union war dead with flowers.  By the 20th century, competing Union and Confederate traditions merged and the day was extended to honor all Americans who died while in military service.

In the past, military service affected a majority of American families.  Certainly that was true in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and both World Wars.  Not true any more.  These days only a small percentage of us are directly impacted by military service.  I’m sure that the relatives and friends of those who died in Iraq and Afghanistan have a different relationship with Memorial Day than the rest of us.

And so, for the rest of us I suggest we take a moment and honor those who have died on our behalf.


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