MEMORIAL DAY 2016 – TIME & REMEMBERANCE

Memorial Day


Memorial Day (formerly Decoration Day) is observed on the last Monday of May. It commemorates the men and women who died in military service. In observance of the holiday, many people visit cemeteries and memorials, and volunteers place American flags on each grave site at national cemeteries.

A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.

72-Flags-Party_07

Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.

The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

Harbor flag

The ceremonies centered around the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington mansion, once the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Various Washington officials, including Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, presided over the ceremonies.

d-day remembrance manchaug memorial

After speeches, children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home and members of the GAR made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns.


Israel, my other country, did not have a memorial day as such. There was Independence Day, celebrating the country’s official nationhood … and a very somber Holocaust Day. Independence Day was the only non-religious holiday during which businesses and the government closed down.

Holocaust Day, the only thing that closed was the television and radio station which did not broadcast. The sirens blew for a full minute at 8 in the morning and again at 4 in the afternoon. Everybody stopped what they were doing and stood until the sirens stopped. Traffic stopped. Cars and trucks pulled to the roadside. Drivers got out and stood. Listened. Remembered.

Even if you were alone in your home, you stood to honor those dead who never carried a weapon and got no medals.


Official holidays become less important as we get older, but personal milestones become more meaningful. Calendar marking become more like seasonal reminders and less like a time to party.

Have a great weekend, however you celebrate. Remember those who fought … and those who died because a war happened to them.

It’s good to remember war, to hope we’ll someday stop fighting and find another way to settle our differences.



Categories: American history, History, Holidays, Photography, War and battles

Tags: , , , , , , ,

21 replies

  1. Too late to comment on a post about Memorial Day. But I want to thank you for reminding us of the origins and also for the wish for peace.

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  2. I wonder if any of the current political candidates have lost any loved ones in a war? It certainly alters your feeling on ‘going to war.’

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I enjoyed reading your entry this week. Thanks Marilyn for sharing. 😀

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  4. I get completely frustrated at those who would dog on our military. Not many around the world love this great country as we do. They would destroy it or otherwise take it over if only they could. Our brave soldiers stand ready at the call to make sure that can’t happen. When you see them, thank them. Because of them we have a chance to sleep safe at night.

    Tim

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  5. We have our ANZAC day and also Armistice Day in November to honour those who have died for us.

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  6. Thanks for sharing about your memorial observances in Israel, Marilyn. How often we forget about the millions that die during war who wear no uniforms or hold not weapons. Remembering the lost and praying for peace.

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    • Actually, I looked at the statistics. Many more civilians are killed in wars than soldiers. We honor soldiers, but there are no parades and no memorials for the children, the mothers, the grandfathers. The people who were simply caught in events beyond their control. Killing is too easy. We really need to find another way to solve our issues especially as war never really solves anything.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. If you grow up in a country that fought, you sort of belong. In Switzerland the only wars were so many years ago, that they are only really remembered in museums. I was interested to read the Israeli way of doing it and they have a lot to remember, almost too much, and it should never be forgotten.

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    • And yet, even in Israel, younger generations are forgetting. Not only the events, but the reason why the country was born and what it is supposed to represent. Remembering is hard. Forgetting takes no effort at all.

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  8. With each passing year, the memories seem to grow dimmer about “The Greatest Generation” and all the others who have served our country. A shame.

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  9. Thank you, Marilyn, for this thoughtful piece, especially Israel’s Holocaust Day when “the only thing that closed was the television and radio station which did not broadcast. The sirens blew for a full minute at 8 in the morning and again at 4 in the afternoon. Everybody stopped what they were doing and stood until the sirens stopped. Traffic stopped. Cars and trucks pulled to the roadside. Drivers got out and stood. Listened. Remembered. Even if you were alone in your home, you stood to honor those dead who never carried a weapon and got no medals.” It was in that spirit that I posted “Il Silenzio” today on Views from the Edge.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you too. Recently, I’ve become more and more aware than the vast majority of war casualties are civilians. Children. Mothers. Old people. All caught in events for which they have no preparation and from which they cannot escape. They need remembering too.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Happy Memorial Day to everyone there.
    Leslie

    Liked by 1 person

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  2. #GoSilent on Memorial Day 2016 | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

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