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Old 05-31-2010, 05:37 PM
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Default BLOG: Memorial Day

From Matt's blog:

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Just wanted to remind everyone to take some time to remember those troops who have died while defending our freedoms. A lot of people probably don't know the difference between Memorial Day and Veteran's Day; but Veteran's Day is intended to honor every soldier, sailor, airman, and Marine who has served this nation, in wartime and peacetime. Memorial Day is intended to honor only those who have died while serving this nation and fighting for freedom across the globe.

The day of remembrance traces its roots back to the years after the Civil War when General John "Blackjack" Logan observed the tradition of family members placing flowers on the graves of fallen soldiers every spring. So, General Logan established Decoration Day, in 1868. Decoration Day would eventually become Memorial Day. I believe America is the only nation who honors her dead soldiers in this way.

I'll talk about the events of this weekend later on. Today is a day to be remembering our troops and the ultimate sacrifice that many of them have made for our liberty. -matt
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Old 05-31-2010, 05:40 PM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BB2Ad04mukI
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Old 05-31-2010, 05:43 PM
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God bless the families of our fallen brothers and sisters ... we are a nation in debt.
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Old 05-31-2010, 05:44 PM
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Amen.
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Old 05-31-2010, 05:51 PM
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I will never forget the people who have died fighting to make this country what it is today...or the families of those who are grieving the loss of their loved one.


~Amy
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Old 05-31-2010, 05:53 PM
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They are remembered and we are a grateful nation.
God Bless our military brothers and sisters.
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Old 05-31-2010, 06:11 PM
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Yes some one get's it. Every memorial day several people thank me for being a vet. I always tell them I'm not dead.
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Old 05-31-2010, 06:29 PM
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God Bless all who have paid the ultimate price in preserving our freedoms.

Thank You .
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Old 05-31-2010, 08:11 PM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWdMfe-DH54

Silent, so silent now,
Now the guns have stopped.
I have survived all,
I who knew I would not.
But now you are not here.
I shall go home alone;
And must try to live life as before
And hide my grief.
For you, my dearest friend,
who should be with me now,
Not cold too soon,
And in your grave,
Alone.

In The Commonwealth we generally tend to remember the war dead on November 11th because it was the date on which The Great War ended. In England we tend to mark both the 11th of November itself and whichever Sunday happens to fall closest too that date.

The Commonwealth also commemorates VE Day (The end of the Second World War in Europe) May 8th, to mark the date the Germans accepted defeat. We further commemorate VJ Day (the end of the Second World War in Japan and the South Pacific, who continued to fight after the fall of Germany) on August 15th when Japan declaired surrender following the nuclear bombing of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

However, as far as I can see, everyone should remember the war dead on as many occasions as possible, preferably everyday, as I am sure the family members of those killed or missing in action do.

I personally do not adhere to a vast swaith of war poets who proclaim that war is futile, and loss is in vein. I believe that the Military is the highest level of calling outside of The Church because Christ said Greater Love Hath No Man, that he lay down his life for a friend, which is exactly what every person who has ever died for their country has offered. I need not distinguish between whose country one is fighting for, as far as I am concerned, anyone who fights as an allied force with England, is included in my thoughts. This distinction, that to fight for ones Country which has been ordained thus by GOD, is mirrored, in effect, and in tern by fighting for what is righteous and good. Therefore, despite war being the damnest of human activities, it actually IS Good and Honourable to die for ones country imortalised by a poet who actually thought quite differently as he lables the latin phrase Dolce et decorum est pro patria mori as being "the old lie"

you can tell where I stand on this conflict by the words of one of my favourite hymns

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHh8isGtB6w

I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;
The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.
(I heard my country calling, away across the sea,
Across the waste of waters she calls and calls to me.
Her sword is girded at her side, her helmet on her head,
And round her feet are lying the dying and the dead.
I hear the noise of battle, the thunder of her guns,
I haste to thee my mother, a son among thy sons. )
And there's another country, I've heard of long ago,
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;
We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;
Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths are peace.


Amor Et Fides
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Last edited by Tyburn; 05-31-2010 at 08:25 PM.
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Old 05-31-2010, 08:39 PM
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Default When Memorial Day Was No Picnic

A Heartfelt Commemoration - When Memorial Day Was No Picnic
By JAMES M. MCPHERSON
source: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/25/op...opclassic.html

Quote:
Tomorrow is the legislated Memorial Day, and the thoughts of most Americans turn to the price of gasoline or the sale at the local furniture store. School will soon be out and the summer driving season will begin, to end on the next legislated three-day holiday weekend, Labor Day. In hundreds of towns, Memorial Day parades may wind up at the local cemetery to pay tribute to the community's war dead, but most spectators will not follow along.

It hasn't always been this way. Memorial Day began after the Civil War as Decoration Day, a ceremony to place flowers on the graves of those who had given the last full measure of devotion in America's bloodiest war.

Obscurity shrouds the origins of this custom. One version credits Southern women who began decorating graves in 1865. On May 1, 1865, a Northern abolitionist named James Redpath, who had come to Charleston, S.C., to organize schools for freed slaves, led black children to a cemetery for Union soldiers killed in the fighting nearby to scatter flowers on their graves.

What soon became known as Memorial Day spread to villages in both North and South. Several claimed to have celebrated the first Memorial Day. Congress awarded that distinction to Waterloo, N.Y., where Union veterans decorated the graves of fallen comrades on May 5, 1866.

In the South, women formed Ladies Memorial Associations to disinter soldiers from distant battlefields and rebury them with dignity locally. These associations became the sponsors of Confederate Memorial Days, which varied in date according to the height of the local flower season, from April in the Deep South to late May in Virginia. In the 1890's, the United Daughters of the Confederacy took over this solemn task. In the North, men took the lead. In 1866, Congress enacted legislation creating national military cemeteries, foremost among them Arlington, on the former estate of Robert E. Lee's family, across the Potomac from Washington.

In 1866, Gen. John A. Logan of Illinois founded the Grand Army of the Republic, which grew into a politically powerful veterans' organization. In 1868, Logan ordered all G.A.R. posts to decorate the graves of Union soldiers on May 30, the optimum time for flowers in the North. That year, 103 posts held Memorial Day services, a number that grew to 336 in 1869 and continued to increase thereafter.

In 1873, New York made May 30 a legal holiday; by 1891, every Northern state had done the same.

In the early years, Memorial Day was a reverential occasion. Death was a pervasive and profound presence. Some 620,000 Union and Confederate soldiers died in the war. (If the same percentage of the population were to die in a war fought today, the American war dead would number five million.)

Observances at Arlington in 1868 established a model. Five thousand people gathered on a beautiful spring day. Small American flags decorated each of the 15,000 soldiers' graves. After patriotic speeches, the band played a dirge while a procession formed, headed by orphans from the Soldier's and Sailor's Orphan Home. At the tomb of the unknown soldiers, the column stood for prayers and hymns. Then, to the booming of cannons, the orphans strewed flowers over all the graves.

Wartime rancor remained alive in those years. Controversies arose in the North and South over the decoration of the graves of the few enemy soldiers buried in several communities. During the Memorial Day commemoration at Arlington in 1869, the G.A.R. placed guards around the handful of Confederate graves to prevent them from being decorated.

Most Southern states considered May 30 a Yankee holiday and kept separate Confederate memorial days. Northern Democrats, whose ranks had harbored many opponents of Lincoln's war policies, accused the G.A.R. of using Memorial Day for partisan purposes. These disputes were partly responsible for the Senate defeat in 1876 of a bill to make May 30 a national holiday.

By the 1880's, passions were cooling. A few communities held joint Blue-Gray services. Several hundred Confederate soldiers were reinterred (in a separate section) at Arlington. Virginia even moved its Confederate Memorial Day to May 30.

Other changes occurred in the 1880's. Parades replaced processions. Commemoration gave way to celebration. Instead of doleful songs like "Strew Blossoms on Their Graves" and "Cheers or Tears," veterans and their families sang spirited tunes like "Rally 'Round the Flag," "Marching Through Georgia" and "Dixie." In 1889, Charles E. Jones, a Confederate veteran's son, penned "Lines on Memorial Day," which included this verse:

Yes, soon with the tolling Of Funeral Knells, Will mingle the rolling Of Famed "Rebel Yells."

The most famous of all speeches stayed closer to the original purpose of the occasion, but nevertheless strayed toward the romanticization of the war that began to appear in the 1880's. "The generation that carried on the war has been set apart by it experience," declared the thrice-wounded Union veteran Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., at Keene, N.H., on Memorial Day in 1884. "Through our great good fortune, in our youth our hearts were touched with fire. It was given to us to learn at the outset that life is a profound and passionate thing. . . . We have seen with our own eyes, beyond and above the golden fields, the snowy heights of honor, and it is for us to bear the report to those who come after us."

Not all veterans approved of the festiveparades and picnics. Even worse were the baseball games and horse races that caused people to lose all sense of the meaning of the day. In 1888, the G.A.R. condemned "indulgence in public sports, pastimes and all amusements on Memorial Day," while crusty old Gen. William T. Sherman said Americans should spend the day at the cemetery honoring the dead rather than marching in parades.

When President Grover Cleveland, who had "bought a substitute" to escape the draft during the war, allegedly went fishing on Memorial Day in 1888, he ignited a firestorm of criticism that played a part in his defeat for re-election that year.

By 1915, most of the Civil War veterans were dead, and Memorial Day seemed to be in danger of fading away. But the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars revived it after World Wars I and II.

As a high school student in a small Minnesota town during the Korean War, I participated in Memorial Day services that were dignified and purposeful. Our high school band gathered at the cemetery; we didn't parade there. We played "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "Rock of Ages." I played taps after a clergyman intoned a prayer, and then we all stood at attention as an honor guard fired a salute over the graves of veterans.

Today, high school bands march behind majorettes instead of playing "Rock of Ages." The 1968 law establishing Memorial Day as one of five Monday holidays surely hastened its trivialization.

But in 1983, I was startled by a rare survival of the old Memorial Day. I had returned to my hometown to deliver the commencement speech at my alma mater. I arranged to meet an old friend the next day, Memorial Day. On my way, I passed a rural cemetery. Visible from the road were a high school band, an honor guard and people dressed in their Sunday best, all with bowed heads, listening to a prayer. I was tempted to join them. But I drove on, for I was late to my appointment -- to go fishing.
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