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A Memorial Day Tribute



"... we cannot dedicate. . .we cannot consecrate. . .we cannot
hallow this ground. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to
the great task remaining before us. . .that from these honored dead
we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the
last full measure of devotion. . ..that we here highly resolve that these
dead shall not have died in vain. . . that this nation, under God,
shall have a new birth of freedom. . . and that government of the
people. . . by the people. . . for the people. . .
shall not perish from this earth."
Excerpts from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address
delivered November 19, 1863

 

Soldiers
by Jack E. Barnett

In Arlington and Flanders Field, They rest in row by row.
They fought and died for liberty to preserve the peace we
know.

They fought upon the beaches of many foreign lands. They
fought for right and glory for which our country stands.

They marched to war with courage. They fought the battles
thru. They only thought of victory, our piece they would renew.

On distant shores and jungle wars, they would for peace
persist. They gave their lives for freedom, no greater cause
exist.

For honor, truth, and glory, they fought and died together,
side by side in trenches deep. They're remembered now and
ever.

In Flanders Field and Arlington, and in jungles and oceans
deep, our boys will rest forever. We pray they rest in peace.

A Short History of Memorial Day

Memorial Day is also called Decoration Day.
Since World War I, it has also been
called Poppy Day. Volunteers sell small, red
artificial flowers as a fund-raiser for disabled veterans.



The location of the first observance of Memorial Day
is in dispute. Some claim the custom was originated by
some Southern women who placed flowers on the graves of
both Union and Confederate soldiers after the Civil War.
According to one writer, the first Memorial Day service took
place on May 30, 1866, on Belle Isle, a cemetery  for Union
soldiers in the St. James  River, at Richmond, Virginia.
The mayor planned the program of hymns and speeches
and had the cemetery decorated with flowers. Others
claim the custom of honoring war dead began in
Boalsburg, Pennsylvania.
In 1966, however, the U.S. government
proclaimed that Waterloo, New York, was the birthplace
of Memorial  Day. On May 5, 1865, the people of Waterloo
had honored soldiers who had died in the Civil War.  In
1868, General John A. Logan,
commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic
(an organization of Union veterans of the Civil War),
named May 30th as a special day to honor the
graves of Union soldiers.

The custom of placing flowers on graves is an old one that
exists in many countries. Today, almost everywhere around the
world, people have a special day to honor not only those who gave
their lives in battle, but also family members and friends
whom they wish to remember

The Northern states and some Southern states celebrate
Memorial Day on the last Monday in May. This date was made
a federal holiday in 1971. Some Southern states have Memorial
Day celebrations to honor Confederate soldiers who died
in the Civil War. Mississippi and Alabama
celebrate Confederate Memorial Day on the last Monday in
April. In Florida and Georgia, the date is April 26.
May 10 is Memorial Day in North and South
Carolina, and the holiday is June 3 in Kentucky,
Louisiana, and Tennessee. Texas observes Confederate
Heroes Day on January 19 (Robert E. Lee's birthday).

"These heroes are dead. They died for liberty-they died for us. They
are at rest. They sleep in the land they made free, under the flag
they rendered stainless, under the solemn pines, the sad
of the clouds, careless alike of sunshine or storm, each in the
windowless palace of rest. Earth may run
red with other wars-they are at peace. In the midst of the battles,
in the roar of conflicts, they found the serenity of death."

~Author Unknown


To Memorial Day, page one

       


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Updated: March 19, 2005
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