Monday, 31 May 2010
Behind the Holiday, Memorial Day, By Stephanie Burkhart
Memorial Day has always meant something a little deeper for me. My grandfather served in World War II. My Uncle Harold also served in World War II in the European theatre. My husband's grandfather served in World War II in the Pacific Theatre in the Navy. I, myself, served in the Army between 1986-1997. I understand what it's like to give oneself up to protecting the concepts of freedom and democracy. It's personally rewarding but can also be very lonely. When I work on the Memorial Day holiday, I usually bring in my awards, decorations, pictures, coins, and MP Brassard to share with others. Being the military is not an easy life. Thank you to all who have served and who have had relatives who have served. Your sacrifices have not been in vain.
Memorial Day was originally called "Decoration Day," and was established as a day of rememberance for those who died in service to the U.S. Nation during the Civil War. It was first proclaimed on 5 May 1868 in Waterloo, NY. (Now, I have conflicting reports on the date, also given as 1866, most sources I've found, however, give the 1868 date.)
18th MP Bridage Patch
The south refused to recoginze it until World War I. In 1915, Moina Michael wrote a poem called "In Flander's Field" which inspired the idea of wearing red poppies on Memorial Day to honor those who died during "The Great War."
In 1971, Congress passed the Holiday Act moving Memorial Day from it's traditional observance of 30 May to the last Monday in May to make it a three day holiday weekend. It used to be known for parades, but nowadays few are held. This year, President Obama is visiting the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetary just outside of Chicago.
Being the military is not an easy life. Thank you to all who have served and who have had relatives who have served. Your sacrifices have not been in vain.