Memorial Day-formerly known as Decoration Day began after the Civil War to remember the Confederate soldiers who died in defense of their country, according to Wikipedia. After World War I, Memorial Day became a day to remember all those American personnel who died in any war, according to History.com. By the 20th century Memorial Day was extended to honor all Americans who have died while in military service. Memorial Day became a federal holiday in 1971. Memorial Day often includes remembering all men and women who served in the military but technically Memorial Day is to honor those who have died in military service and Veterans Day is the day to honor all of the U.S. military, living or dead.
When our son Dan joined the Marines, this holiday took on a very personal meaning.
On Memorial Day, my husband Russ and our son Steve join with other local fireman, service men and women, veterans, and Boy Scouts to visit five local cemeteries to honor our fallen military. Many people from the community come as well. As a mother of a Marine, seeing all those people attend one of these services was overwhelming to me and made me very thankful that they took the time to honor those who died during service to our nation. Several years ago our son Dan was home on leave and he came with me to the service at Dutton Cemetery. Dan was standing next to me and as soon as the flag was raised and the band started playing the Star Spangled Banner I could feel Dan’s whole demeanor change. He was in civilian clothes but immediately he was standing at attention. As I turned to look at Dan, I did so with tears in my eyes while remembering it now does the same. This same respect was shown when they fired the gun salute and played TAPS. Our service men and women have experienced things we can never understand or comprehend, but they are willing to lay down their lives for our nation. Every service man or woman has experienced the death of some of their fellow servicemen or women and that changes them. My husband had an uncle who died in Europe during World War II. When my father-in-law and his brothers and sisters talk about their brother, the memories they have of him still arouse emotions that are difficult to control.
This year on Memorial Day stop and reflect on our nation.
Our nation was founded on principles found in God’s Word. Our nation is where it is today because God’s hand has led and guided our nation and also because of those men and women who have served in the military and those who gave their lives to defend the values and freedoms of America. I would encourage everyone to attend a ceremony at a local cemetery and honor those who died to preserve our freedom. This would give you a sense of pride for our country, but also thankfulness for our brave hero’s who have gone before us. We all know the first verse of the Star Spangled Banner, but we know little about the other three verses. The fourth verse gives praise to God. “O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand, between their lov’d homes and the war’s desolation; Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land Praise the Power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation! Then conquer we must, when our cause is just, And this be our motto: “In God is our trust” and the star spangled banner in triumph shall wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!