General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, promulgated General Order No. 11, which was the first official promulgation of Memorial Day. General Order No. 11 provided that flowers be placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers on May 30, 1868.
“Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.”
President Ronald Reagan remarked on a Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery –
“…the day we put aside to remember fallen heroes and to pray that no heroes will ever have to die for us again. It’s a day of thanks for the valor of others, a day to remember the splendor of America and those of her children who rest in this cemetery and others.”
President Reagan on the soldiers of the Viet Nam War –
“They chose to be faithful. They chose to reject the fashionable skepticism of their time. They chose to believe and answer the call of duty … They seized certainty from the heart of an ambivalent age; they stood for something.” “We owe them something, those boys … a promise to look at the world with a steady gaze and, perhaps, a resigned toughness, know that we have adversaries in the world and challenges and the only way to meet them and maintain the peace is by staying strong.”
Unfortunately, the ravages of time have yielded not only neglect, but also forgetfulness. In 1971, the fatal error occurred – the Uniform Monday Holiday Act fixed the celebration of Memorial Day to the last Monday of May. Congress, botching up its own creation, corrupted it with a three-day weekend. The “most sacred day of the year” was perverted into an empty excuse for barbecues, sales, and mini-vacations.
(Judge Michael Warren/Co-Creator of Patriot Week)
Now that you have a brief history about Memorial Day, I’d appreciate your indulgence for a few more paragraphs…
To those misguided but life-loving souls that protest what our country was built upon and is still protected by – please remember that the sales you’re shopping this coming weekend were built upon those same graves, same loss, same love, same dedication to something/someone greater than themselves.
The bigger picture if you will, is that every service member who dies while enlisted CHOSE that. They chose our Republic and what they feel it should stand for. Their choice was/is one of such selflessness, bravery, honor. The fallen deserve more than just a day but for just one day please, please acknowledge that what you/we have is because someone you may never know fought for it. Blood, sweat, tears.
To those who’s family members have made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom to love who we choose, live how we choose, God Bless You. You’re loved ones are never far from my family, our prayers, our time. We love you. We are here for you. Come what may – war and peace – we will never turn away from you.
To those who will enjoy a three day weekend, a barbecue with family/friends, enjoy it. Be present for every moment. Stand in awe of what you have and take a little time to be remember WHY you have your little bit of heaven.
“I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration, and Support and Defend these states. Yet, through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is more than worth all the means.” – John Adams (1776)