History of Memorial Day
Let’s take a look at the holiday marking the official beginning of summer and America’s most solemn occasion.
(Source: History of Memorial Day – The History Channel)
America’s most solemn holiday — A day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice while defending their nation.
During the Civil War 600,000 soldiers were killed. Mourners in both the North and South began placing flags and 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. By the end of World War I, May 30th 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.
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, 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 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 freedom are being dishonored by businessmen like Mel Sembler (commercial real estate capitalist and Straight, Inc. co-founder), who abuse their freedom to advance their own interests.
My dream is to one day have the United States of America show its appreciation and honor for all of the fallen soldiers who have fought for freedom and liberty, 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.
Often people who suffer from PTSD experience anniversary reactions, which you can read about here.
It is important that more scientific research is conducted in pursuance of knowledge about how to best recognize, understand and treat PTSD.
Project Straight Ink hopes to dedicate a portion of this website to the latest studies in PTSD, to help all Americans who have suffered from PTSD
Memorial Day – the Unofficial Start of Summer
As stated on the history channel video, “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 it costs and to remember those who have paid with their lives to preserve the freedoms we still have.