Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day to remember all those men and women who died in our nation’s service. In 1873, my home state of New York was the first to officially celebrate the holiday to honor all the United States military veterans.
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.
She was the first to conceive of the idea to wear a poppy signifying honor to the dead. She sold them to her friends and co-workers to raise funds for the veterans and servicemen in need. Soon after, a woman visiting this country from France began making artificial red poppies and sold them to raise money for the war orphans and widows. News of this tradition spread to other countries and by 1922, the VFW became the first organization to sell the poppies nationally.
Over these many years past, the traditional Memorial day celebrations and remembrances have diminished. It’s often looked upon today as no more than a holiday from work to picnic in the sun. However, for the past 60 years, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts have, in various cities across the country, placed flowers at the gravesites of soldiers buried in military cemeteries.
In December, 2000, President Clinton passed The National Moment of Remembrance Resolution to remind all Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day. The resolution asks that at 3pm local time, 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.”
We can do that and more for those who fought and continue to fight and die to maintain our freedoms. I challenge you to visit a veteran, write a poem/song/short story, volunteer at your local Veteran‘s Hospital, purchase a bouquet of poppies, place flowers at a soldier’s gravesite, walk in a Memorial Day parade, say a prayer for those still fighting, or create your own way to honor those who served so valiantly on this Memorial Day and every Memorial Day hereafter.
How will you be celebrating today?
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