Monday, May 30, 2011

On This Memorial Day...

Remember the soldiers who gave their lives to defend this country.  

Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.

There are a few notable exceptions. Since the late 50's on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 1,200 soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing. In 1951, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of St. Louis began placing flags on the 150,000 graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery as an annual Good Turn, a practice that continues to this day. 

More recently, beginning in 1998, on the Saturday before the observed day for Memorial Day, the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts place a candle at each of approximately 15,300 grave sites of soldiers buried at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park on Marye's Heights (the Luminaria Program). And in 2004, Washington D.C. held its first Memorial Day parade in over 60 years.

To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the "National Moment of Remembrance" resolution was passed on Dec 2000 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 Moment of Remembrance is a step in the right direction to returning the meaning back to the day. What is needed is a full return to the original day of observance. Set aside one day out of the year for the nation to get together to remember, reflect and honor those who have given their all in service to their country.  

Also, on this day, we will remember those who lost their lives and their homes in the tornado that destroyed the town of Joplin, MO.  While the town is 70 miles away from where I live, the impact has reached Springfield, MO and has greatly humbled the residents of this community.  People are pulling together to support the town directly to our West in any way they can.  Big Fish Tees is offering stylish T-shirts for $10 and 100% of the profits are going to disaster relief efforts.  And there are COUNTLESS other organizations and groups donating items and money, volunteering, housing/rescuing animals, and just being there for support.

So, this Memorial Day, honor those who served this country and those who have passed on before us.  Tell and show the ones you love how much they mean to you.  Do it today.  There might not be a tomorrow.


Rick said...

Great post, Kel. I hope that everyone remembered what this day was for.

KEL said...

Thanks, Rick. I hope so, too.

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