It started out as “Decoration Day” on May 30, not “The last Monday in May.” It was a day when you went to the grave of a loved one who had fallen in battle. You went to the cemetery and saw the little Flags every where and put flowers on a grave. Flags were flown at half-mast until noon. Do you know that you are supposed to raise the flag all the way, and then lower it to half-staff? At noon you raise it back up again.
1868, Major General Jonathan A. Logan, ret. made a proclamation of what Decoration Day, now Memorial Day, was to be about:
“The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country and during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.”
In Flander’s Field
by John McCrae
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.
That radical organization, the VFW, who hires disabled vets to make the little red poppies, called “Buddy Poppies,” they sell at this time of the year, stated in its 2002 Memorial Day address: “Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed greatly to the general public’s nonchalant observance of Memorial Day.”
In 2000, to help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans “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.”
So at 3 P.M. I will be thinking about all who have come and gone including Uncle Herbie.