Showing posts with label Memorial Day. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Memorial Day. Show all posts

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day and My 800th Post....

I find it appropriate that this post is my 800th posting for History Is Elementary.

Memorial Day is one of my favorite holidays, so it makes sense I’m writing about it again for post number 800. I knew the milestone post was coming up. I had thought about what I would write. I had even asked friends on Facebook what I should write about, and they came up with several interesting ideas. Then I realized Memorial Day was rapidly approaching…..and I couldn’t go without saying something.

What does Memorial Day mean to you? Cookouts, picnics, trips to the beach, perhaps a sale at the mall, time off from work, a cold beer or two, the Indianapolis 500, a slab of ribs on the grill……

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have a problem with any of those things, but I wouldn’t be the ElementaryHistoryTeacher that I am if I didn’t point out what the original intent behind Memorial Day is.

Yes! These sweet young ladies, two of which I have the pleasure of knowing, have the right idea. Hannah and Claire are the daughters of a couple who are great friends of mine.  Paula and Scott felt it was important to teach their daughters the true meaning and intent of Memorial Day. Their family along with several other people decorated the graves at Marietta National Cemetery where there will be a ceremony today at noon.

I applaud them heartily!

Yes, Memorial Day is the official day to recognize men and women who have died while serving our country in the military.

Originally, Memorial Day morphed from a day that became popular soon after the end of the Civil War that was known as Decoration Day. Not only was it a day of remembrance, but it also served as a day for reconciliation as the North and South tried to heal.

The war dead was remembered by decorating their graves with flowers. On the very first Decoration Day, General James Garfield, future President of the United States, made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery where 5,000 people had gathered to decorate more than 20,000 Union and Confederate graves.

As there are with most things there are a few cities and/or groups who vie for the credit regarding who began the custom of decorating the graves of soldiers… the end it only matters that it’s done, right?

Over the years Decoration Day began to include soldiers from other wars and officially the day become Memorial Day when President Lyndon B. Johnson declared the last Monday in May as an official holiday in 1966.

Here are a few more pictures depicting Decoration Day events.

And of course looking back on other Memorial Day postings here at History Is Elementary…..This post is from 2009 and discusses heroes and this post is from 2008 when I was fortunate enough to spend Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery.

Whatever you do today......take a few minutes to remember those brave men and women who answered the call gave their lives in the cause of freedom.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day - Choose Your Hero

Memorial Day – a day set aside to remember those who have died while in military service. Originally known as Decoration Day following the Civil War the holiday has morphed into many things to different people. Some see it as the day was originally intended and decorate the graves of fallen men and women, and some families visit cemeteries and national monuments. Just last year at this time I was huffing and puffing my way all across Arlington National Cemetery.

Others have latched onto the fact that Memorial Day is the first official holiday of summer signaling the start of time off from school, beach visits, and don’t forget the cooler of beer sitting next to the grill. Let’s party!

As my husband was placing our flags out this morning – one on the front porch and one on the back – I couldn’t help but think about the concept of hero. The first thing that met my eyes this morning as I turned on my lap top was this article at MSN regarding heroic things…..the article stated:

Two things pass for heroics these days: adopting lots of orphans and being a spokesman and/or fundraiser for a noble cause. That’s nice and all, but compared to what Hollywood stars used to do, their modern counterparts are a bunch of wimps.

The article goes on to provide interesting information regarding the military service of Elvis Presley, Gene Roddenberry, Clark Gable, Julia Child, Jimmy Stewart, Henry Fonda, Sir Alex Guinness, Paul Newman, Charlton Heston, and Marlene Dietrich.

Interesting stuff considering the other news of the day seems to be about folks attending one rapper's funeral and yet another rapper’s final concert before reporting to jail. I can’t help but think of the tabloids and their headlines…the hundreds of websites dedicated to celebrity gossip…what do we really value in America today and have our core values changed so, so much?

Peggy Noonan has some great thoughts…she always does…in her latest column found here titled Those Who Make Us Say Oh!....all about our American heroes.

and finally....

In case you missed them here are two former posts of mine detail two of my own relatives and their military service…..Gliding Into D-Day and Timberwolf Up: My Salute to the Veterans of the 104th and a Very Special Uncle.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Observing Memorial Day

If I had to name one place where you should visit over a long Memorial Day weekend I can think of no better place than Arlington National Cemetery, our nation’s premire memorial cemetery, honoring those who have served in our armed forces.

My husband, daughter, and I visited Arlington for several hours on Friday. If you aren’t a proud American as you walk the grounds, exit the gates, and cross Memorial bridge back over the Potomac towards the Lincoln Memorial then you and I… sadly…. don’t have anything in common.

Today (Sunday) we are still attempting to recover from our visit as I do believe we traversed most of the 600 plus acres Arlington encompasses. I’ve never walked so many steps or climbed so many hills in my entire life, but it was so very worth it.

The images I took during our visit and the three views I've posted above best help me remember why Memorial Day is observed. I’ll post more later….