I went to the National Cemetery the day after Memorial Day. I didn’t go on Memorial Day, but I did get to see the military do fly over to start the Ceremony that was being held there that day. The Missing Man formation gives me chills every time I see it.
I went to the cemetery to take a couple of photos for a friend. Her grandfather is buried there, I wanted to do something special for her. I know she loved (she still loves) him. Seeing people still out and paying respects to their loved ones on Tuesday got me to thinking about the actual meaning of Memorial Day.
Did you know that Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day? According to usmemorialday.org, it’s true. On May 5th, 1868 General John Logan (the national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic) officially proclaimed Memorial Day. May 30, 1868 marked the first time Memorial Day was observed, with the placement of flowers on Union and Confederate soldiers’ graves. The south refused to honor their dead on the same day as the northern states, until after World War I, which is when the holiday was changed to honor those who had died in any war.
The poem “In Flanders Fields,” heralded a response in 1915 from Moina Michael:
We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
I really feel like the meaning of Memorial Day has been forgotten. I would like to say thank you to all the families who have lost loved ones in wars. I also would like to say thank you to the soldiers sacrificing time with the ones they love to help ensure freedom today. Please know that you are always in my prayers.