Friday, May 27, 2011
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women's groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War.
Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, and was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days 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). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971).
Many Americans today 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.
This I did not know - but the proper flag etiquette for Memorial day is that the flag is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day. The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service of their country (and who still are). At noon their memory is raised by the living, who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.
While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades,(I believe the American Legion in Catty still has a tradition that they still do) 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.
Something else I did not know - To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the "National Moment of Remembrance" resolution was passed in December of 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.
Since 1987, Hawaii's Senator Daniel Inouye a World War II veteran, has repeatedly introduced measures to return Memorial Day to its traditional date. Why, because Memorial Day is more that a 3 day picnic party weekend, it's not those special doorbuster specials at Kohl's, it is about those who lost their lives fighting for ours. So this Memorial Day, Monday May 30, let's try to remember to take that moment at 3:00 PM, I know I will.
and that's.....another day in Catasauqua