By Rosie Moore
In 1915 a poem written by Moina Michael commemorates the day that everyone remembers as Memorial Day.
We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
that blood of heroes never dies.
The poem refers to the thousands who died so that we may be free. Every year we go through the same ritual of remembrance and it is a ritual that will never grow old. She then conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial Day in honor of those who died serving the nation during the World War 1.
Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day, I remember that well from my childhood days. 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. President Lyndon Johnson in May, 1966, officially declared Waterloo, N.Y. as the birthplace of Memorial Day, but it’s difficult to prove conclusively the origins of this holiday. It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. It is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.
Traditional observance of this holiday has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades.
To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the National Moment of Remembrance resolution was passed in December, 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”. This is a step in the right direction to returning the meaning back to the day. What is needed is a full return to the original day of observance. Set aside one day out of the year for the nation to get together to remember, reflect and honor those who have given their all in service to their county. Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. Bills were referred to the committee on the Judiciary of Government Reform which proposes to restore the traditional date back to May 30th. To date there have been no further developments on that bill.
Whatever date Memorial Day falls on, it behooves us to never forget those who gave their lives so that we can live in freedom. Because of them we can be happy on Memorial Day.
Thought for the day: A day above ground is a good day.
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