Summer is upon us and I want to wish you all a Happy Memorial Day !
For many of us Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer, a time to gather with friends and family and enjoy the inaugural summer barbeque. We should also take time to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day: the remembrance of all who have died in the service of their country.
General John Logan observed the first Memorial Day in the horrible aftermath of the Civil War in 1868 by placing flowers on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers who died in battle. This symbolic act demonstrated that Memorial Day is not about division, but rather reconciliation as a nation and remembrance for all military personnel who gave their lives fighting for what they believed was best for our country. Only God knows which side was in the right, if either truly was.
When I was a child, Memorial Day was known as Decoration Day, and we all wore paper poppies. The poppies memorialized those who died in the First World War.
After presiding over the funeral of a friend and fellow soldier during the First World War, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae penned the poignant poem: In Flanders Fields:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place, and in the sky,
The larks, still bravely singing, fly,
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead; short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe!
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high!
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
This Memorial Day may we not only honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our nation, but for all nations. Political, religious, and cultural differences may divide us, but our belief in Something Greater unites us.
This Memorial Day please take a moment to honor fallen soldiers all over the world and appreciate their ultimate sacrifice no matter what their creeds or political beliefs.
And let us pray for the grace to understand and forgive.
- Remember the Flanders Fields This Weekend (pointsandfigures.com)
- Memorial Day (montyrainey.wordpress.com)
- Thank you to those that serve… (vlrrealestate.wordpress.com)
- Our Honored Dead (canadafreepress.com)
- Of memorials and memories (7400fullmoonslater.wordpress.com)
- Poppy Day tradition alive in Pikeville, Tenn. (timesfreepress.com)
- Memorial Day: A day for the fallen – On Monday, we’re reminded once again of the cost of war (naplesnews.com)