Monday, May 28, 2012

A day to remember.......

Arlington Cemetery where thousands of soldiers are buried, and honored today.

Memorial Day marks the informal start of summer - pools open, the barbecue season kicks off, and it’s OK to wear sandals. But it has a more solemn aspect, implied in the name itself. Memorial Day is a day when we remember the nation's war dead. Not to be confused with Veterans Day—which honors living veterans—Memorial Day remembers those who gave their life for the country. How did this day begin?  

In 1868, Memorial Day was observed for the first time in the United States, at the request of Gen. John A. Logan, the national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. It was called Decoration Day because the general had seen women decorating graves of Civil War heroes. In the earlier part of the century, Memorial Day was essentially a Northern and Western holiday. The South had its own Confederate Memorial Day, usually held in April. But World Wars I and II brought an added gravity to the day, as did the later Korean and Vietnam conflicts.  
 In 1959, Congress proclaimed that a day be set aside in recognition of those who died in service to their country. Memorial Day was observed on May 30 until 1971, when Congress decreed that it be observed annually on the last Monday in May. 

A touching typical scene like the ones shown here are common on a day like this, when many widows visit the graves of their spouses killed in war. Let us pray and remember them.....
Laura Youngblood, widow of U.S. Navy Petty Officer Travis L. Youngblood, touches his gravestone while visiting his grave in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery during the Memorial Day weekend in Arlington, Virginia, May 24, 2009. Youngblood died of wounds received in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in July of 2005 in Iraq.  (Boston Globe photo)
Another unknown widow prays and cries on the grave of her husband
Memorial Day
A time for picnics, time off work -
Vacations and the "Indy" -
A holiday, too often times
We forget what, it should be.

A time to pay respect to those
Who rallied to the battle cry -
Who gave their lives for liberty -
Those freedoms for you and I.

Such a waste of brave young souls -
Some still struggling through their youth
Who faced and fell willingly
Before war times' awful truth.

So as we share this holiday
With our friends or family -
Take a moment to give thanks to
Those who died so we'd stay free.

Let us strive for world peace -
For the end of greed and hate -
For next time, after "the war"
It just may be too damned late.

Gravestone of Jessica Ellis, one of our parishioners who died on Mother's Day 2008 in Iraq

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