A Day to Remember

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It’s perhaps fitting that the nation’s memory of Memorial Day’s origins are somewhat murky. After all, a day of solemn remembrance has morphed into just another day off. If we don’t much remember those memorialized by the day, it’s not likely that we will recall the original reasons for setting the day aside, either.

Memorial Day creation stories are as diverse as the interests championing them. African Americans point to the practice of freedmen decorating the graves of the Union war dead as the inspiration for the holiday. A recent New York Times piece detailed the competing claims of Columbus, Georgia and Columbus, Mississippi, places where Southern ladies draped the burial grounds of the Confederate dead in flowers, for inventing the annual commemoration ritual. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson further confused matters by proclaiming Waterloo, New York as the birthplace of the holiday on the centennial of the town’s first event commemorating the Civil War fallen.

We know when Memorial Day started. We really don’t know where it started. The inevitability of spontaneous demonstrations of sympathy for the departed heroes from a war that claimed 620,000 men make the day’s multiple nativity stories all quite plausible. An event as traumatic as the Civil War couldn’t be forgotten. It simply had to be remembered.

American families back then couldn’t escape the horror of a war that put ten percent of the population under arms and put two percent of the population underground. The ten-year-long Afghanistan campaign’s 1,984 American deaths don’t even approach the number of Americans killed at Cold Harbor in ten minutes. This turn of events is something to celebrate and not mourn. But leaving much of the nation out of its wars does leave a nation unaware, and to a degree unappreciative, of the great sacrifices made to found a republic, liberate slaves, rid whole countries of totalitarian oppressors, and kill the terrorists who would kill us. The current lack of a shared sacrifice makes Americans less reverential of past sacrifices. We are not all in this together.

Losing a loved one in war makes every day Memorial Day. Not experiencing such a profound loss makes Memorial Day like every day. In either case, the day doesn’t change one’s perspective.

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  • oldtimer

    I think every potential president should have to serve in the military.

    • Lorben

      Yep….a typical oldtimer would think that! I am with you and am just a middle timer.

  • Amused

    I'd rather see to it that any potential president should had to have actually WORKED for a living by the sweat of his brow . Looking back over the long list of US presidents , how many were in the military ? How many were silvers spoon fed millionaires ?

    • oldtimer

      The only presidents since WWII that were not vets are Obama and Clinton. One of the most beloved presidents was both a silver spoon fed millionare and decorated veteran, JFK…

      • Amused

        …and BEFORE WW2 oldtimer ? Count'em

  • Amused

    But aside from that , woke up before sunrise to lower Old Glory to half-mast , {i fly the colors 24/7/365 with appropriate lighting } and will wait till Noon , raise her to full mast ,THEN fire up the barbie and celebrate the memory of all of the fallen in service to tyhis Great Country .

    Have a Great Memorial Day to All .

    • Ramon

      & TO YOU TOO its great to be an American—just remember every serviceman or woman who served and who is serving every Day-great every Vet with a smile….

    • mrbean

      I bet you lowered your flag to half mast for the death of crackhead Whitney Houston case dah Prez Obama beez a fan uf dah sista Yassah!

      • Amused

        mrbean how did you become such an asssshole ? Did your Mama drop you on your head ? Or maybe its just a matter of , the fruit not falling too far from the tree eh ?

    • oldtimer

      my idea of celebrating, is visiting VA hospital and firing up the BQ at the American Legion, feeding homeless vets.

  • H&R_ Barack

    Having B. HUSSEIN Obama, whom hates the USA, and is actively attempting to eviscerate & dismantle her;

    ……. lay a holy wreath at theTomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery is an obscenity.

    • Amused

      Go get a room with mrbean .

  • Fred Dawes

    I remember the old Army it was no fun. Obama Hates this country he hates the people he is our darkness and is total evildoer. But so is Mitt and all his kind.
    By the way all you put down here is picked up by NSA?CIA/FBI, Read the news.

  • StephenD

    “Armistice Day becomes Veterans Day. Independence Day becomes the Fourth of July. Washington’s Birthday becomes Presidents Day. Like clichés and euphemisms, the replacement names dull thoughts rather than provoke them. Stripped of meaning, Memorial Day makes us forget what we are remembering.”

    And Fort Hood becomes “Workplace Violence”, Little Rock recruiting station shooting becomes a “Drive By”, Jihad becomes “A Personal Struggle”, and Terrorism becomes “Man-made Disasters.” Leftist Elitists become “Liberal”, and would be Kings become "Our Next Best Hope."

    The coup-de-grace, A Socialist, Anti-American, Islamic Operative becomes "President of the United States."

  • Amused

    There's room in there with mrbean and H&R_Barack , you could be a "threesome " .