Memorial Day

“Many Americans have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At cemeteries across the country, the graves of the fallen are sadly ignored, and worse, neglected.”  ~ Col. Allen West

In my weekly blog I normally do what I can to write something that is both work related ht_facebook_uknown_tomb_soldier_rain_tomb_thg_121029_wblogand inspiring. This week is not necessarily work related, but I do hope it may inspire a few readers. Next Monday is Memorial Day; a day that all Americans should hold sacred, but sadly has become at best, a misunderstood Holiday and at worst the official start of summer vacation, barbecue cookouts and summer mattress sales across the nation.

Many people confuse Memorial Day with Veterans Day, a day to honor all who have served their country. Memorial Day is about much more than service, it is about sacrifice. Memorial Day is the official day of remembrance of all who gave the ultimate sacrifice of their lives so that those of us remaining may enjoy freedom. It is not about honoring veterans. That’s what Veteran’s Day is for. Memorial Day is about honoring those who gave their lives in service to their country. Those who died on battlefields defending freedom.

Although its exact origin is unknown, Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic and was officially observed on May 30, 1868. Flowers were placed on the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. After World War I, all states officially recognized the Holiday.

One of the traditions observed on Memorial Day is the wearing of a red poppy. This tradition was derived from what is the most famous poem of World War I, Flander’s Fields, written in 1915 by John McCrae. The poem begins; “On Flander’s fields the poppies blow, between the crosses row to row…” Over the years, many civic minded organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America have taken up the tradition of placing an American flag at the headstone of fallen veterans, Each year soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division place flags on each of the more than a quarter of a million military gravestones at Arlington, but at far too many cemeteries across the country, these graves go unattended and forgotten.

Memorial Day is about reflecting back on the price of the freedom we enjoy. It is about remembering our forefathers who fought and died for American independence. It is about remembering those who fought for the cause they believed in, although on different sides during the Civil War. It is about remembering the men of a young nation that made its mark on the world when it helped save Europe as it sacrificed its sons at places with long forgotten names like Amiens and Mont Blanc. It is about remembering those who died a torturous death in the bowels of a ship on an ocean floor in the Pacific and who turned the sea red with their blood at Normandy and who faced insurmountable odds at Bastogne. It is about remembering those who defended South Korea from communist takeover and the 58,000 plus of my own generation of friends and brothers who sacrificed their lives in the memorial+daymountains, jungles and deltas of Viet Nam. Sadly today, the list of remembered soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines grows as young men, and now young women, defend us against the Islamic extremists who seek our destruction.

I hope everyone will take a little time this Memorial Day to remember the heavy cost that has been paid by so many, for our freedom. Never take that freedom for granted. It came at a heavy cost. Remember the lives left unlived and pray for their souls. They died for yours.


About montyrainey

Public Speaker and District Manager. Mission: To empower and inspire others professionally, personally and spiritually to elevate their lives to a higher level.
This entry was posted in American History, History, Memorial and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Memorial Day

  1. Pingback: Memorial Day: Still a War Between the States of Necessary Distraction « Carl Anthony Online

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  3. Mark Martins says:

    We should commemorate those brave soldiers who died in battle. They died for us to be safe.

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  4. montyrainey says:

    Mark, it took me a while to figure out that your link “Party in Cebu” was a reference to Cebu Island. My uncle, Zeland Rainey, earned a Silver Star on Cebu Island in WWII.

  5. Pingback: Thank You, Mr. Shaw, for Presenting the Necessary Discussions…Memorial Day 2013 | K2 Global Communications LLC

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  7. Paul E Walters says:

    Great! May I ad. The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month,1918. Armistice day,
    The poppy Around the World is the symbol of W.W.I. Flanders Fields were Poppies Grow!
    Their is an American cemetery their, as well as 7 others in France for W.W.I veterans.
    Watch BBC in November! Even the news reporters sport a Poppy! Czechoslovakia Celebrates the Poppy for W.W.II. Commemoration.
    I remember the poppy being handed out around the USA.
    The American Legion established in 1919.( number 1 enemy liberal legal Orgs!). the poppy is one of the legions logo’s! They will be dispersing them for Memorial Day.Why not Armistice day? Good question! I wear one for Armistice Day as that’s the way it is! and was!
    Time to bring back the Poppy! It has had a lonely life in resent years in America !

    Paul E Walters
    Western Front Explorers. W.W.I AEF genealogy, information, maps research.

  8. Eugene Hough says:

    We can stem the tide!
    One recent success story happened yesterday afternoon in Chester PA.
    Saving Hallowed Ground worked with area residents and students in Buckman Village, providing basic conservation services to a neglected WW11 monument; placing a wreath and flags.
    Nobody had recognized officially this site for years.
    This positive out reach resulted in folks coming out of their homes, lending a hand on the monument, cutting the grass.
    Our motto…’ Education, Preservation and Stewardship’
    See our video Saving Hallowed Ground on Google.
    Join us, contact us about monuments in need of recognition and care.
    “For These We Strive”

  9. Pingback: What to teach Baby about Memorial Day | memaandpoppashouse

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  11. Nila D in Oklahoma says:

    Thank you for this wonderfully written blog post.
    I have shared your words on my Facebook page in prayer that all will take if only a moment to reflect & be thankful for all who have sacrificed. Some are still alive but sacrifice daily in their heart & souls what they have seen & done in protection for all of us.
    A Vietnam War Wife-to-be in Oklahoma
    Nila D.

  12. montyrainey says:

    Thank you Nila in Oklahoma. This Memorial Day my prayers are also with the people of Moore and Shawnee, OK as they try to rebuild their lives and mourn the losses of last weeks storms.

    • Nila D in Oklahoma says:

      Thank you. Our cities resemble a war zone right now but thankfully our fellow Oklahoman’s are a strong, resilient & caring people. Our military have joined forces, Army out of Fort Sill & Air force out of Tinker to help in the restoring & cleanup.

  13. Pingback: Memorial Day Remembrance…. | A Nine Pound Hammer....or a woman like you, either one of these will do

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