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Monday, May 29, 2017

Celebrate and Remember

2016 Memorial Day parade, Nashua, NH
Memorial Day, a solemn reminder that freedom is never free, honors men and women who have served and died in military service.

This U.S. federal holiday is observed annually on the last day in May (today). The 3-day holiday weekend is regarded as the "unofficial" start of summer. Many will attend parades, BBQs and picnics or go shopping for sales.   

The holiday was originally called Decoration Day and was started to honor soldiers who died in the Civil War. It was officially proclaimed in General Order No. 11 by General John Logan in May 1868. (Several southern states set aside an added separate day for honoring Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 28 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi, and June 3 in Louisiana and Tennessee.) 

The best-known poem now associated with this day, In Flanders Fields, resulted in the remembrance poppy, an artificial flower used since 1921 to commemorate military members who have died in war. It's associated with U.S. Memorial Day as the American Legion symbol. Funds raised through selling remembrance poppies help support disabled veterans.

The poem was written in May 1915 during WWI by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae after presiding over the funeral of a friend and fellow soldier. 

In Flanders Fields (Lt. Col. John McCrae, 1872-1918)

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row, 
That mark our place, and in the sky, 
The larks, still bravely singing, fly, 
Scarce heard amid the guns below. 

We are the dead; short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, 
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields. 

Take up our quarrel with the foe! 
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high! 
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
The “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution, passed in 2000, asks all Americans at 3 p.m. local time: “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps.”
(Comments are off. Celebrate the holiday and remember.)

9 comments:

AndreaC said...

Love your write-up! Andrea

Emma Springfield said...

I will definitely e remembering.

Red said...

Interesting how these special days change along the way.

Sandra said...

I love men in uniforms and your collage has many of them. my favorite soldier look is the look from 1776..

NCmountainwoman said...

I do love the moment of remembrance. Even a minute of unity in these divided times is such a blessing.

William Kendall said...

McCrae's poem transcends nationalities. I was in a church this weekend where a list of the dead from that war includes a man who was friends with McCrae, and whose death brought that poem out in him.

Connie said...

Nicely written tribute to this special day. I hope you've had a restful weekend.

The Furry Gnome said...

We lived around the corner from McRae's house, and our kids went to John McRae School.

Leonora said...

I think many folks forget the solemn reason we observe Memorial Day. Thanks for reminding us what this day is all about. I always treasure my poppies when I get them : )
I hear about NH's temperatures from our daughter in Concord. Brrr!!

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