I’ve contemplated writing this post for several years. Each year I sit down to write this post, but thoughts and emotions flow through me and I can never seem to get anything materialized. It seems the day has been long forgotten and been replaced by cook-outs and wishing each service member, past and present, a “happy” day. My husband becomes irritated with the messages he receives from family and friends. Each year he posts a status on his Facebook that reads, “Brace yourselves. Facebook statuses that confuse Memorial Day with Veteran’s Day are coming.” The true meaning of the day has been long forgotten by many.
What is Memorial Day?
If other eyes grow dull, other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain to us.
Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation’s gratitude, the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.
N.P. CHIPMAN, Adjutant General
Official: WM. T. COLLINS, A.A.G.
Decoration Day becomes Memorial Day
As Decoration Day continued to spread as more towns and cities participated in observances, the day eventually became a national holiday. The United States soon found itself in the middle of another major conflict when the world declared war. As the death toll continued to rise from atrocities of World War 1, Decoration Day evolved to Memorial Day in order to commemorate military who died in all wars. For many years Memorial Day continued to be celebrated on May 30th. However, in 1968, in order to accommodate military personnel with a three day weekend to participate in observances, Congress passed the Uniformed Military Holiday Act. Memorial Day was officially moved to the last weekend in May. The change officially went into affect in 1971 and declared Memorial Day as an officially government holiday.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Memorial Day to Veterans is NOT Happy Memorial Day.” quote=”Memorial Day to Veterans is NOT Happy Memorial Day.” theme=”style2″]
I want to share with you some quotes from an article featured on the Washington Post. You can read that entire Article HERE.
“How is it then, some century and a half later, after more than a decade of war in two countries that claimed the lives of some 6,861 Americans, we are collectively more concerned with having a barbecue and going shopping than pausing to appreciate the cost of our freedom to do so?
A friend reminded me that plenty of people use the weekend the way it was designed: to pause and remember the men and women who paid the price of our freedom, and then go on about enjoying those freedoms.
But I argue not enough people use it that way. Not enough people pause. Not enough people remember.
I’m frustrated by people all over the country who view the day as anything but a day to remember our WAR DEAD. I hate hearing “Happy Memorial Day.”
It’s not Veterans Day. It’s not military appreciation day. Don’t thank me for my service. Please don’t thank me for my service. It’s take the time to pay homage to the men and women who died while wearing the cloth of this nation you’re so freely enjoying today, day.
Men who served with my friends. Men who died with my friends. Men who were my friends.”
Memorial Day is just that – to remember. Instead, many of us generate or find a meme to post on Facebook or instagram thanking veterans for their service. It’s a day of reflection and we pay homage to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice to preserve the freedoms we all appreciate to no end.
Although we appreciate the men and women who sacrificed their lives, there is nothing happy about this day to a combat veteran. My husband often stays off Facebook and instagram during the days leading up to Memorial Day and sometimes a day or two after. He gets irritated at the constant posts of those confusing Memorial Day with Veterans Day. He’s lost many friends, friends who had families, to war. It’s not a happy day for him or the thousands that have walked this same path.
It’s not because he isn’t appreciative, it’s because it’s not a day to thank him or the many other veterans who served honorably. It’s a day to remember those who never made it back. When he is thanked for his service on Memorial Day, he’s reminded of all those he loved and admired who didn’t make it back.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Those who fail to learn history, to remember history, are doomed to repeat it.” quote=”Those who fail to learn history, to remember history, are doomed to repeat it.” theme=”style2″]
As for us, each year on Memorial Day my family will be doing Flags in. We have done this everywhere we have lived from Arlington to now here in Tennessee.
What is “Flags In?”
Flags In is an old military tradition. The history at Arlington alone spans back over 60 years. Each year all available Soldiers with the 3rd US Infantry Regiment participate by placing flags at each headstone, exactly one foot in front of the headstone. In approximately 4 hours, over 228,000 flags are placed. In addition to this happening at Arlington, it also occurs at all the National Cemeteries across the United States. Unfortunately, not every headstone receives a flag because of a lack of volunteers. I urge you to get out and and honor those who have long been forgotten.
SPC Ryan T Baker KIA 11/15/2003
SGT Bryan McCabe KIA 08/11/2013
May we never forget their sacrifice for our freedom.