America has remembered those who died in service to their country since the 1800’s.
In the past century, hymns were sung and poems were written. Later, red poppies crowded the scene, worn and sold first by individuals, then by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The proceeds benefited orphans and widows and gave work to disabled veterans. Our nation was proud of its service men and women. Their graves were decorated with flags and sometimes with candles.
Then, sadly, the true meaning of Memorial Day (once called Decoration Day) seemed to fall by the wayside. Maybe a prolonged peace shifted our thoughts in another direction. Perhaps the National Holiday Act of 1971, which changed the date from the traditional May 30th to the last Monday in May, triggered the downturn.
Whatever the reason, an inspiring public event with a wonderful history suffered a fadeout of remembrance. To many, Memorial Day became nothing more than a long weekend.
Now, as America struggles through another bloody conflict, there is more need than ever to remember what Memorial Day stands for.
Here in Carpenter Country, we’ll pause on May 31st to honor all the service men and women who sacrificed so much for our country.
We’ll also hope Memorial Day will once again regain its original meaning.