Memorial day is right around the corner and I think it is time to try to get people interested in what this day really stands for and how important it is for all of us to take the time to recognized all of our veterans. Monday May 30, 2011 is Memorial Day this year.
I think it is important for us to discuss a little history of Memorial Day. Memorial day was originally called Decoration Day and is a day for all of us to show remembrance for all of those who have died in our nation's service. There are all kinds of rumors and stories as to who first celebrated this day. Some believe that women's group in the South started decorating graves before the Civil War was over. However, President Lyndon Johnson in May 1968 in Waterloo, New York declared that Waterloo was the birthplace of Memorial Day.
General John Logan officially proclaimed Memorial Day on May 5, 1868. He was the national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. The day was first observed on May 30, 1868 when flowers were placed on the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. Notice it was Union and Confederate soldiers.
A women named Moina Michael in 1915 got the idea to wear red poppies on Memorial Day to honor all of those who died. Just before Memorial Day in 1922 the VFW became the first Veteran's group to sell the red poppies made by disabled veterans. Last year, I made a donation to a group Veterans who proceeded to give me a red poppy. I had several people question why was I wearing this poppy. I tried to explain but most were too busy wanting to talk about themselves. Most Cemeteries across our country the graves of veterans are not decorated and ignored on Memorial Day or any other day for that matter. The observance of Memorial Day across the Nation has gone nothing but down hill the last 30 years or so. Most people have no idea about proper flag etiquette.
A bill was passed in December 2000 which is called the "National Moment of Remembrance". This bill asks Americans at 3:00 PM local time on Memorial Day to voluntarily and informally observe in their own method a Moment of remembrance and respect. Everyone should pause from whatever they are doing and have a moment of silence or listen to taps.
All of us were charged up with the great work that Navy Seals recently accomplished. We need to take that energy forward and do something this Memorial Day to honor all the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our Great Nation. If you see a living Veteran thank him or her for their service.