My father, a WWII veteran taught me when I was a child that Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Dayand was a day set aside for
remembrance of those who have died in our nations service. In school I learned that Memorial Day was
first proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, in his General order
number 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868; when flowers were placed on
the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers. The South, at first, refused to
acknowledge, Memorial Day, honoring their dead on separate days until after WWI.
It is now observed in almost every state of the union on the last Monday of
every May. Since the Civil War more than 1.1 million veterans, both women and
men, have lost their lives in service to America. Indeed the Civil War alone
accounted for more than 600,00 dead.
I have visited Andersonville, GA during Memorial Day and cried at all the flags that lined the cemetary, I have stood at the U.S.S. Arizona and cried for the men who died there, I have stood on Flander's Field, I have stood in battlefields all around our great United States and observed the love and bravery of men who gave their lives for my freedom. Whenever I hear the National Anthem played over the speaker system I begin to cry as I remember all of the fallen ones, the ones that
served with my dad, my father-in-law, my husband, my son-in-law, my nephews, cousins and a whole host of others. I have stood at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Korean Memorial in peace and reflection and at the WWII Memorial and was heartbroken at the noise. These are places to remember....to memorialize. This was for my father. I have heard many speakers give their speeches about their
experiences and the meaning of Memorial Day. I have stood beside a WWII veteran as he talked about the
hardships and struggles and the fact that he was lucky to be alive when so many
of his brothers had fallen victim to the war. One talked about how it was up to
the veterans to teach "our children about the sacrifices made by so many".
Another said, "that America will only be the land of the free so long as it is
the home of the Brave". (and they are not talking about the baseball team.) These speakers spoke with so much pride about
America that it was hard not to think about all the people who have no idea what
this holiday is really about. While they go to their Bar B Q's and beaches there
are some who keep up a tradition of pride in service to the United States of
America and remember all those who had fallen, and rejoice in the ones who still
live and remember. Let none of us ever forget what Memorial Day really is.
If you have a vet in your family....or meet one on the street....tell them how much you appreciate them today...and every day!
I am a woman who wears many hats and loves them all. I am a singer - I sing with the group Still Magnolias. I was part of the original First United Methodist Church Arbor Praise Team until we moved. After 24+ years of teaching English 11 and Spanish I - II at Benjamin Russell High School I decided to take a job closer to home. I now teach Spanish I & 2 at Randolph Co. High School and Wadley. I thought I was getting close to retirement and looking forward to it, but decided to move my cheese and try something different. I am a preacher's wife and a preacher myself. My husband Frank is the pastor at Rock Mills United Methodist Church and I am the pastor at Midway (Wedowee). It has made our conversations interesting, to say the least.