***This is my annual post to recognize and honor those who have given their lives, standing in harm’s way, that we all might live in freedom…
…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…
“Let us, then, at the time appointed, gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime; 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 as sacred charges upon the Nation’s gratitude,–the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.”
Congress instituted Memorial Day by passing a law on May 11, 1950, intending it to be a national day of prayer for peace. Part of the White House Memorial Day Proclamation says:
Section 169g. Memorial Day as day of prayer for permanent peace –
“The President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe each May 30, Memorial Day, by praying, each in accordance with his religious faith, for permanent peace; designating a period during such day in which all the people of the United States may unite in prayer for a permanent peace; calling upon all the people of the United States to unite in prayer at such time; and calling upon the newspapers, radio stations, and all other mediums of information to join in observing such day and period of prayer.”
Young people today probably do not know that Memorial Day used to be a solemn day, honoring those who 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.
A hero is one who puts himself or herself in harm’s way to protect someone he/she doesn’t even know, who puts his/her life on the line that you and I can live in safety. And usually with little thanks.
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.
Please pray for all the families of our fallen service men and women as they leave 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.
I hope you will take time to view this video. I know you will be blessed…
Some gave all…and left behind empty chairs. Pray that there will be no more empty chairs.
In honor of the veterans of the Civil War, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., who had been wounded three times during that war, said the following in a Memorial Day Address in 1884:
“…it is now the moment when by common consent we pause to become conscious of our national life and to rejoice in it, to recall what our country has done for each of us, and to ask ourselves what we can do for our country in return.”