This is my annual, or almost annual, post to recognize and honor those who have given their lives, standing in harm’s way, that we all might live in freedom…
Young people today probably do not know that Memorial Day used to be a solemn day, a day of honoring those who served in the military and paid the ultimate price for our freedom.
Businesses closed for the day. Parades were held. Speeches and prayers were offered up at cemeteries. People took flowers and flags to the gravesites of those heroes who died in service for their country. In a few places, these things still take place out of respect and honor for our fallen soldiers, our men and women of honor. Those heroes leaving behind…
A hero is one who puts himself or herself in harm’s way to protect someone they do not even know, who puts their life on the line so that you and I can live in safety. And usually receive little thanks. They gave their lives for ours. Sound familiar?
But for all those for whom Memorial Day was established…
…the day was originally known as Decoration Day as it was a day to honor the Civil War dead by decorating their graves. First observed on May 30, 1868, by proclamation of General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of former sailors and soldiers.
Part of his proclamation says…
“What can aid more to assure this result than by cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foe? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their death a tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance.
“All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the Nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and found mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten, as a people, the cost of free and undivided republic.”
Established in and for prayer. On May 11, 1950, Congress instituted Memorial Day by passing a law intending it to be a national day of prayer for peace.
In 1968, Memorial Day was changed to the last Monday in May when the Uniform Holidays Bill was passed, moving observances of several federal holidays to create three-day weekends. Now, too many people just enjoy a long weekend and the holiday has lost most of its meaning.
The next time you see one of our nation’s heroes in uniform, stand and applaud him or her. Give that one a big hug, a pat on the back, or a handshake. Pay for his or her meal. Give that one your heartfelt thanks for protecting your homeland.
Some gave their all…and left behind empty chairs. Please pray for all the families of our fallen service men and women who have left behind empty chairs in their families. And pray for all those troops now deployed in harm’s way that they will return safely to their homes and sit once again with their loved ones.
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