Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women's groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, "Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping" by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication "To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead" (Source: Duke University's Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920). While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it's difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860's tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, each contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in Gen Logan giving his official proclamation in 1868. It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all. (copied from Wikipedia)
When I was growing up I remember my dad always had a big flower garden in the field next door to us. He would pick big bouquets and we'd all go to the cemetery to put flowers on my grandparents graves. We didn't give a lot of thought to the Military who died because honestly, we didn't have any that I know of that gave their lives while in Service. My dad was around 18 yrs old when he was a soldier in WWI but I have no idea and don't remember him ever talking about it. All I have is a very old picture of him in his uniform taken someplace in the U.S.
Meanwhile, my husband was a 21 yr veteran of the USAF. He loved the Air Force and believe it or not, in spite of all the moving we did, I loved it too. He passed away in 2007 and was buried in a brand new VA cemetery in Anderson,SC. Nowadays, naturally, I do think of the Veterans and those who gave their lives for us. My husband didn't but he could easily have since he went in the AF before the official end of the Korean War and served during the Vietnam war. Lucky for our family, during the Vietnam War time, he was sent to Biloxi, Mississippi to teach those who were going to Vietnam and managed to stay in the States during the entire war. Still, he always felt guilty for not going even though I always felt like someone had to train the young troops here in the States and maybe he was one of those who kept them safe while there.
This weekend I hope everyone takes a few moments from the big Department Store Sales, the picnics, the beach, and just say a little prayer for the people who are serving and those who lost their liveswhile serving in the Military and lets not forget the people who are suffering from the terrible weather we've had the past couple weeks.
Howard Porter, taken just before being shipped overseas in 1960