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Good Morning! It’s Memorial Day. Do You Know What That Means?

Good Morning! It’s Memorial Day. Do You Know What That Means?

Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. Service Members who died while in the military service. Originally enacted by formerly enslaved African-Americans to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War, it was extended after World War I to honor Americans who have died in all wars.

What Is Memorial Day?

And yet by the early 20th century, Memorial Day was an occasion for more general expressions of memory, as ordinary people visited the graves of their deceased relatives, whether they had served in the military or not. It also became a long weekend increasingly devoted to shopping, family get-togethers, fireworks, and trips to the beach.

For Many Families, A Time Of Mourning

So let’s look at what’s going on in the United States this Memorial Day.

From The New York Times:

Today, there are families knotted in mourning for a soldier recently lost in Iraq or Afghanistan. There are families for which mourning has become an absence more persistently felt than they could ever have imagined.

There is still a generation mourning friends, relatives and fellow servicemen lost in Vietnam, Korea and World War II, their bodies interred all around the world. After a certain distance, the immediacy of memory is replaced by history.

We catch the family resemblance in photographs, we recognize the names on the gravestones, but these are soldiers we never knew, whose death, in World War I or the Civil War, changed our lives and the world we live in.

On Memorial Day, it is also worth remembering all those antecedents, lying in cemeteries across the country, who might be said to be looking for their descendants — families now so scattered that there is no one to remember how the young man-at-arms under that modest headstone was ever connected to the living world. Of all the graves where America’s military dead lie buried, how many today will be visited by family — and how many will remain unattended, unremembered, unknown?

Last American Survivor Of WW1 Died In February

The New York Times also reminds us that in February, the last surviving American veteran of the First World War died. And although it may be hard to imagine the day when we say goodbye to the last survivor of the Second World War, the calendar and the census do not lie.

Some 16 million Americans served in the military during World War II. On the 60th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor in 2001, about 5.5 million were still living. This year, as we prepare to mark the 70th anniversary, the number is closer to 1.5 million, and it drops by almost a thousand a day.

Take Time To Remember Those Who Died In The Name Of Freedom

On this Memorial Day, take a break from the hot dogs and the baseball game to remember those who gave their lives in the name of freedom.

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Photo Credit: US Army Africa via Creative Commons

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45 comments

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5:11PM PDT on May 25, 2013

Noted & voted to honor war veterans.

12:03PM PDT on Jun 18, 2011

Noted with interest.

1:00PM PDT on Jun 1, 2011

bring back all the troops
stop the war start the peace
we need to be alive
learn how to know each other
not to harm each other
get to gather and live this life to the end but we should not end it

11:56AM PDT on May 31, 2011

It's sad that so many have died/are dying in wars.Even sadder that so many are unknown and forgotten.They deserve better.Please forgive my ignorance,but how does that even happen?

11:03AM PDT on May 31, 2011

I am a vetern and consider myself a patriotic American, but not a blind one. There have been wars, where unfortunately, we had no choice but to fight. I believe the Revoluntionary War was fought for our freedom. The Civil War was fought to ensure our Republic and to free men and women in bondage. World War I was fought mainly because of our treaties with allies. World War II was fought because of Pearl Harbor and to stop a mad man from killing any more than the 12 million innocents he killed and to stop the spread of fascism. Our latest wars in Iraq and Afhganistan were not fouhgt for our freedom, nor anyone elses. Iraq was started falsely by a President and his Administration because he hated Iraq's leader and he wanted to show his own father he could do an Iraq War better. Afhganistan was started by the same President saying he was going after the person who masterminded 9/11, he very shortly gave it up and the war continued and our men and women continued to die.

As a vetern I know their is no glory in war. Should we remember their deaths, yes. But I object to monuments in any form glorifing war or those who fought them.

In recent years, the media has started calling our military personnel warriors, I really object to this. And it seems all you have to do is put on a uniform today and you are call a hero. And the media is the one who keeps harping on these hero's fighting for our freedom. They are not all hero's and they are not fighting for our freedom.

6:29AM PDT on May 31, 2011

thank you

6:29AM PDT on May 31, 2011

thank you

1:25AM PDT on May 31, 2011

Thanks for the article

7:45PM PDT on May 30, 2011

thanks for the post.

6:22PM PDT on May 30, 2011

The very best way to honor our troops and our veterans is to bring them home and stop this madness.

They are not protecting our freedom - they are being sent to die for corporate and political gain.

This Information Clearing House article says it better than I can:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article28210.htm

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