Memorial Day

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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.

4 thoughts on “Memorial Day

  1. Sara S. Wolf says:

    Hi, Debbie- thanks for a great post. I had forgotten about that poem until I read your post today. Have a great memorial day weekend – are you in town>? I am here tonight and tomorrow morning, then going to see my Dad in Columbus on Saturday afternoon through Monday. Talk to you soon –
    Sara

  2. I’m so glad you liked it. Molly and family may be here this weekend. Still don’t know. If not, I’m going up there.
    Looking forward to Opera Season!!
    Deb

  3. This is such a poignant poem. I posted on it a few years ago (may revive it now that I think of it here) along with a link which was interesting. The link has a copy of the poem in McCrae’s handwriting.
    home.earthlink.net/~alrnevada/post149/id26.html

    When we were children, we always went to the cemetery. The adults put flowers on the graves of boys they lost, mostly in WWII, we ate a little picnic food, and there were 21 gun salutes.

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