It has taken me a bit to collect my thoughts concerning this holiday, what it means, and what it should mean.
In the United States of America, Memorial Day has largely become an extra Federal holiday that allows a large number of Americans a day off to rest, grill outdoors, drink lots of beer, and in general celebrate. However, most of them don’t even know what they are actually celebrating.
There is so much more to this Day of Remembrance than just chilling in the back yard. A friend of mine made the following post on Facebook, and helped to solidify my own thoughts and feelings.
“Decoration Day was what the Grand Army of the Republic called it to begin with. A day to go to the cemetery and decorate the graves of the fallen. The date was chosen since there was no great battle of the Civil War fought then. It has changed a bit, we call it Memorial Day now, and we remember all who died in the line of duty in all of the wars which Americans have fought. It does not glorify battle or war, it remembers those who did not return to their families and homes. Fortunately of the many members of my family who served only one died during the conflict. Uncle Sandy Fred Roy Duncan, Jr. died on the beach at Saipan during the Second World War. He is buried in the Punch Bowl American Military Cemetery in Honolulu, Hawaii. My father got to visit his grave on his way home from the Navy during the war.
My grandmother was given the opportunity to have Sandy moved home to Oklahoma after the war, but she said it had been too painful to lose him the first time and she did not think she could take burying him a second time. It is a beautiful place. But it is far from his home in Oklahoma. I had the good fortune to visit there one year at a conference in. Honolulu. I cried at his grave for my father. Sandy had been his best friend and younger brother. They had been inseparable until the draft took dad for the Navy and Sandy for the Marines.
God watch over all the families, mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, children and grand children who will never see their loved ones again. And may we learn the wisdom to settle our differences with diplomacy rather than with warfare.”
– Rt. Rev. Dr. Stephen F. Duncan
The following links provide both historical information on the holiday and strong opinion on the same. Please take a few moments to educate yourself, and to return the day to it’s original intent.
This link leads to the Wikipedia page for the United States holiday, Memorial Day.
Forgetting Why We Remember is an op-ed written by David W. Blight, published in the New York Times on May 29, 2011.
— Ann Cathey
Family and extended to family to numerous active duty personnel, veterans, and fallen.