from Lorin Bice Author of All About the Plan
I sent the following to my office colleagues on Thursday before Memorial Day. I thought it important enough that we might take a break from our financial discussion and I share it here with you.
In the spring of 1866, a year after the end of the Civil War, the ladies of several cities in the southern states began an annual tradition of honoring the Confederate and Union dead by laying flowers on their graves in the cities’ cemeteries. These solemn ceremonies were the first occasions of the Memorial Day observance that occurs on Monday, May 28th of this year. In 1868, the first nationwide observance of this day came when General John A. Logan issued a proclamation calling for a nationwide “Decoration Day” to honor the country’s Civil War dead. As the World Wars left their ravages on the 20th Century, “Decoration Day” became known as “Memorial Day” and was traditionally observed as state holidays throughout the nation in late April or May each year.
Memorial Day is now observed on the last Monday in May each year and was officially designated as a Federal Holiday in 1971. In 1999, Congress passed a resolution calling for a Moment of National Remembrance at 3:00pm local time wherever one may be. Then-President Clinton spoke thusly:
“As we contemplate the comforts and blessings of our lives and the well-being of our nation, I ask you to pause just for a moment to remember those who gave their lives to protect the values that give meaning to our lives.”
So please, spare a moment on Monday to give thought to those that have died fighting to give us the way of life we have today. What an awful thing it must be to go off to war. I think of a kid from Lake Wales that I vaguely knew. He went off to a country in Southeast Asia that he’d never heard of. After the explosion, they had to reassemble him for his mother to be able to have a funeral. What a lonely, sad way to die for a kid that was only interested in hot rods and his high school sweetheart just a few months earlier. Should we have been in that war at all? A debate for another day … but for this day, I will remember a kid that went because his country called and that’s what we do for the love of our families and friends.
In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place, and in the sky,
The larks, still bravely singing, fly,
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead; short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe!
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high!
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
John McCrae, 1872 – 1918