Saturday, May 24, 2008

Remembering those who have fallen


I’m yet another clueless American in many ways. I had to go find some information online about the fast-approaching holiday. This page was pretty informative:

www.usmemorialday.org/backgrnd.html

If you feel clueless, I encourage you to go to that page and read it through. Although, I found the below quote from that URL slightly annoying:

It [Memorial Day] is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 - 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis' birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.


Must a 3-day weekend for federal employees be a deciding factor when determining the calendar day of observance? (Yes, I just lower-cased “federal” on purpose.) And you can always leave it to the southerners to cling to their own ways longest.

Another interesting little tidbit from that page was the fact that a woman inspired the wearing-of-the-poppies, and ultimately the Buddy Poppy programs that have supported disabled vets for decades.

I also had to check online so as to be absolutely sure about how to hang the flag vertically; I’m just never certain, and I don’t want to be the fool who displays it wrongly. There’s a veteran living across the street who’d likely shake his head with disbelief if he saw it hanging backwards.

And I’m sure I’ll be disappointed once again this year, when I see a noticeable paucity of American flags all around the neighborhood. Remember how they flew with pride after 9/11? All of a sudden, the flag was cool again. And now, already, so many have forgotten. Lulled by picnics, barbecues, and yard maintenance, the real meaning of the holiday has been tabled once again…until the next disaster, when the country will be reminded to be thankful for all we have. All of which we have because other people gave their lives.

One thing we can all do is this:

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."


And if you’re one of the folks who think the holiday should fall on May 30th regardless of which day of the week, you can sign a petition on that same link I referred to earlier.

You can also add a quote here on melmoirs, something related to Memorial Day; include it as a comment. I’ve already started it off with a couple; check out the quotes I’ve listed as comments, than insert a quote comment that you think sums it all up.

Thanks for tuning in, and have a meaningful Memorial Day.

7 comments:

Mel said...

Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.
-Clarence Darrow

Mel said...

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.
-Ronald Reagan

chris h. said...

Thank you, Mel!

Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.
~ Winston Churchill

Facie :-) said...

We will not waver; we will not tire; we will not falter; and we will not fail. Peace and freedom will prevail.
- President Bush to the nation, October 2001

I remember hearing President Bush say those words on the Jumbotron during halftime of the Steelers-Bengals game, the first home game at Heinz Field. The nation was still reeling from 9/11, and this was a declaration of war, one that I was against, but one that I also knew must be fought.

I also remember one fan, one section over from our seats, who always wears a Steelers jersey bearing the name "Fritz." He saluted the Jumbotron/Pres Bush the entire speech.

9/11 was horrible; to this day, I still get chills when I watch footage of the planes crashing into the WTC. But if nothing else, it brought the nation together.

Mel said...

great quotes, chris h and facie! thanks for sharing! and facie, your story of fritz's salute made me teary. of course, I am becoming incredibly corny in my old age.

I am delighted to report that I saw more flags flying this year than last--still not as many as I'd hoped, but a somewhat respectable showing in our little 'hood. perhaps there is hope?

chris h said...

I was disappointed at the flag turnout in my neighborhood -- I don't think I saw ONE on my street except for ours. So disappointing.

Mel said...

gosh darn it, where is the patriotism??!!