Monday, May 30, 2011

May 30 Memorial Day

Soldier, rest! Thy warfare o'er,
Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking,
Dream of battled fields no more.
Days of danger, nights of waking. -Sir Walter Scott

For many, the Memorial Day weekend is nothing more than the unofficial start to summer, and the earlier custom of cleaning cemeteries and decorating graves as a way of paying homage to the dead has largely been replaced with picnics and reunion.  Others relate this holiday to an extra day off work to catch up on some rest.  And still others, yet, relate this holiday to play golf and hit the summer sales events.  The sad fact is that while many still do observe Memorial Day as it should be, the show of patriotism decreases year after year.

It began as a day when family, friends, and perhaps even strangers would decorate the graves of the fallen Civil War soldiers with flowers and flags; hence, it was originally called Decoration Day.  Then, after World War I it also recognized all American service men and women who served in wartime and were killed in the military, as well as a time to honor those still fighting today.  And, while  many do take this time to pay their respects, there are those who have forgotten the true meaning of this day and what it commemorates. 

If you are like me, you probably have several ancestors or loved ones who gave their lives for our freedom. Let yourself remember your loved one, both the laughter and the pain and share with others.  Remembering is vital to healing for by remembering, we allow our loved one to live on with us in the world. Express your feelings, and be kind to yourself.   Take comfort in knowing that you are not alone, that people all over the country are united with you on this special day.

A handful of old men walking down the village street
In worn, brushed uniforms, their gray heads high;
A faded flag above them, one drum to lift their feet-
Look again, O heart of mine, and see what passes by!

There's a vast crowd swaying, there's a wild band playing,

The streets are full of marching men, or tramping cavalry.
Alive and young and straight again, they ride to greet a mate again-
The gallant souls, the great souls that live eternally!

A handful of old men walking down the highways?

Nay, we look on heroes that march among their peers,
The great, glad Companions have swung from heaven's byways
And come to join their own again across the dusty years.

There are strong hands meeting, there are staunch hearts greeting-

A crying of remembered names, of deeds that shall not die.
A handful of old men?-Nay, my heart, look well again;
The spirit of America today is marching by!
--Theodosia Pickering Garrison-- 


  1. Hello Mary.....what a beautiful tribute you have posted today. Here is a BIG THANK YOU TO ALL THE MILITARY MEN AND WOMEN OF YESTERDAY AND TO THOSE STILL SERVING!!



  2. A great tribute! And now I know what "Decoration Day" really refers to. I always thought it was about medals.

  3. We attended two parades this Memorial Day...I always stand and clap when the veterans pass...this year very few people joined sad...and so few WWII veterans left...