May 30, 2011

Memorial Day, Thank You for your Service!

Memorial Day

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service.   My heart goes out to the families of soldiers that have died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  Also today, my heart is heavy for Junior, my beloved father-in-law.

Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.

There are a few notable exceptions. Since the late 50's on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 1,200 soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing. In 1951, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of St. Louis began placing flags on the 150,000 graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery as an annual Good Turn, a practice that continues to this day. More recently, beginning in 1998, on the Saturday before the observed day for Memorial Day, the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts place a candle at each of approximately 15,300 grave sites of soldiers buried at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park on Marye's Heights (the Luminaria Program). And in 2004, Washington D.C. held its first Memorial Day parade in over 60 years. 


  1. Hi Ken --
    Thanks for the important reminder of what Memorial Day is supposed to mean. I think too many folks these days just think of it as a day off from work.

  2. In honor of all those who have died, veterans and loved ones that have served, including your FIL. Happy Memorial Day. We appreciate everything you've done.

  3. I never knew it was called Decoration Day.
    But, having a military man as a father, we grew up always knowing the true meaning of the day.
    Great post.

  4. Ken, it's really important that people remember this day; sadly, as you point out, it is severely neglected. As the fog in our nation's head grows, so will the mistakes the country makes. Without memory, honor, and duty to ourselves, we forget everything that is truly important about life. How can a nation build a future if it can't remember its' past, can't remember its' sacrifices, and can't remember how to be free?


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