Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Have you ever wondered what Memorial Day really is? Do you even care? We get the day off from work and school. Many businesses are closed. The Federal gov't and the markets shut down. But why? If you have a great grandparent still living, or even a grand parent I bet that they can tell you why.

Memorial Day, or Decoration Day as it was originally known, is a day for remembering those who have served in our military and have died in that service. A day to say thank you to the brave men and women who serve and protect.

Just a little history lesson to let you know the origin of Memorial Day. Something to think about. After the end of the Civil War, General John A. Logan was impressed with the way that the South honored their war dead, setting aside a specific day for the purpose or remembering the dead and the living and to decorate the graves of those who had died during military service. On May 5, 1868, in his capacity as Commander in Chief of the veterans organization Grand Army of the Republic, General Logan issued a proclamation that "Decoration Day" become a national observance. The date of May 30th was chosen because it is not the anniversary of any battle but a neutral date. The term Memorial Day didn't come into use until after WWII.

We must always remember those men and women, living and dead who have served in our military. If you have a member of your family who has served or is currently serving, please tell them thank you. If you see a member of the military, wherever you happen to be, stop and tell them thank you.

For me, the best way to remember is to re-read the Gettysburg Address. I think Abraham Lincoln said it best.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great Civil War, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate - we can not consecrate- we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain - that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom - and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.


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