Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day


“In Flanders Fields”

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.

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918), Canadian Army

“Memorial Day, originally called 'Decoration Day,' is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day… Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war)." In 1971, the U.S. Congress passed the National Holiday Act moving Memorial Day to the last Monday in May. It is now celebrated in almost every State, honoring all Americans who have given their lives in the course of all wars.
See: http://www.usmemorialday.org/backgrnd.html
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Photo: Tyne Cot Cemetery in Flanders Fields, Belgium