History of Memorial Day from the History Channel:
Let’s take a look at the holiday marking the official beginning of summer and America’s most solemn occasion.
America’s most solemn holiday — A day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice while defending their nation.
Civil War – 600,00 soldiers killed. Mourners in both the North and South began placing Flags & flowers on graves of fallen soldiers. On May 5, 1866, Waterloo New York’s citizens closed their shops and businesses so that everyone could decorate the graves of the men killed during the war.
An old war general and leader of the Union Veteran Association, John A. Logan, spearheaded an effort to unite all the decoration services into one national holiday, designating May 30th as decoration day.
Decoration day grew throughout the 19th century and by the end of the century was renamed Memorial Day.
When the World War I ended, May 30 became a day to honor all soldiers who died in battle as far back as the revolutionary war.
The first unknown soldier was interred in Arlington Cemetery on Armistice day in 1921. Every Memorial day unknown soldiers are honored in a wreath-laying ceremony conducted by the President or Vice President of the USA. They are reminders of all of those who never made it home.
Memorial Day became a federal holiday in 1971, and Congress shifted it from May 30th to the 4th Monday in May.
All across America veterans and civilians still gather in parades and vigils to remember the generations who gave their lives for their nation’s freedom.
(insert the civil war veterans graves I have pictures of.)
Memorial Day 35 years ago and today
How fitting, in my view, that 35 years ago today on Memorial day weekend, I was unexpectedly (and unjustly) thrown into Straight, Inc. This life experience was what initially taught me what “freedom and justice for all” truly were when both were promptly ripped away from me. Had my father who was a Korean War veteran had lived through the Straight, Inc experience, he would be mortified to learn what actually went on behind closed doors in this program. I am confident that he would be horrified that he risked his life and suffered in the Korean Conflict, only to have his child subjected to the same tactics used on the American Prisoners of War in Korea.
It saddens me that young men, like Sean Cutsforth (one of my son’s peers), who are still giving their lives for this country’s freedoom are being dishonored by businessmen like Mel Sembler who abuse their freedom to advance their own interests.
My dream is for one day to have the United States of America show its appreciation and honor for all of the fallen soldiers who have fought for freedom and justice for all, by allowing freedom and justice to be equal for all USA citizens regardless of the amount of money they have in their bank account.
Memorial Day, a day to recognize PTSD
For all of the soldiers that gave their lives, there are also soldiers who survived their ordeal and came back home broken from their experiences. Some of these soldiers have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Many civilians who have been exposed to traumatic events also suffer from PTSD.
Many people who suffer from PTSD experience anniversary reactions, which you can read about here.
It is important for more research to be conducted in pursuance of knowledge about how to best recognize, understand and treat PTSD.
Project Straight Ink hopes to dedicate a portion of our site to the latest studies in PTSD, to help all Americans who have suffered from PTSD
The Start of Summer
On a less somber note, many people take weekend trips or throw parties and barbecues on the Memorial Day holiday, perhaps because it unofficially marks the beginning of summer. Some people get angry that the meaning of Memorial Day seems to be growing distant with more focus being on the unofficial start of summer.
I think parties and barbecues are a wonderful way to celebrate the freedoms we have, as long as we first remember WHAT freedom is, what is costs and to remember those who have paid with their lives to preserve the freedoms we still have.