Today is the REAL historic Memorial Day. It started with Confederate widows
and children adorning graves of the fallen of the Second Revolutionary War
(1861-1865). Within a year, as spring came again, former slaves were doing
the same on the graves of Union POW’s who had died in prisons in the South.
The movement spread across the nation and within three years of the end of
the “late, great unpleasantness”, it was adopted as a special day to
remember the fallen of a once-again united nation.
Growing up after World War II, I remember the special feeling of going with
my family to Hillside Cemetery in Minneapolis for speeches, taps, and
perhaps a flyover of new-fangled jets. There was a cannon and flagpole and
I was flooded with patriotic love of country and real appreciation for those
who had died in the wars. I remember a somber Memorial Day when the service
was short as my two aunts had to head back to work at the Twin Cities
Arsenal to make ammunition for the war in Korea.
The echo of taps and reverberation of the honor guard’s rifle in salute
touched chords deep in the very core of my being.
Sadly, in my lifetime this special Memorial Day was relegated to be just a
part of a “3-day weekend” mentality by a generation of selfish Americans who
quickly shunted aside the solemnity of decorating graves and remembering the
fallen, drowning it with a 6-pack, bbq grill or squealing race tires.
I still celebrate Memorial Day on May 30th. I put my flag out this morning
and will unfurl it at noon before I head off to make food baskets. It
reminds me of additional duties towards the wounded soldiers and the
bereaved families, orphans and widows of the dead soldiers. I’m out to
restore the “Memorial” to Memorial Day, and give honor to the dead for their
I will join others who today will be:
.Adorning the graves of the soldiers with flags/flowers.
.Visiting cemeteries and memorials.
.Furling the American Flag at half-mast until noon.
.Keeping silence for a National Moment of Remembrance.
.Pledging to aid the disabled veterans, widows, widowers and orphans.
.Support the efforts to restore the traditional day of observance of
Memorial Day back to May 30th.
.Offering thanks to aging veterans and appreciating the ultimate sacrifices
of their comrades.
My dad and my father-in-law were both WWII vets and have passed. But Carl
(Teresa’s mom remarried 20 years ago) is a veteran of D-Day and campaigns to
liberate Europe. So I bought an apple pie (his favorite) for her to take in
her weekly visit to the Assisted Living home. Just a personal way to truly
celebrate the real Memorial Day.
Dr Bob Griffin
“Jesus Knows Me, This I Love!”