Monday, May 30, 2011

For the Fallen

These past few days, I've noticed many of my Facebook friends posting things like this: "Have a great weekend, everybody! Remember to honor the veterans!"

I am an enormous supporter of those veterans who have served our country with bravery and pride.  I'm actually married to one of them.  But even my husband will tell you that this day is NOT about him, nor any of the military men and women who are living today.

Today is Memorial Day.  It's the day we remember those who died while serving in wartime (hence, the "memorial" part).  Memorial Day was originally known as "Decoration Day" and was created shortly after the Civil War to honor those who lost their lives during that conflict.  Following World War I, it was extended to include ALL fallen soldiers from all of our wars.

My earliest memories of Memorial Day involve the parade that was held each year in my hometown of Northfield, Ohio.  I marched in it with my Girl Scout troupe, then my softball team, and later, with the high school marching band.  The parade would always conclude at the town cemetery, where a short ceremony would be held, then the playing of "Taps" by two high school trumpet players.  One of them would stand near the speaker and play the first few notes, the other would be placed further back in the cemetery, hidden from view.  He'd echo the notes just played by the first trumpeter.  Even when I was small and couldn't quite grasp the brevity of this ceremony, the sound of those mournful trumpets made a permanent impression on my young heart.

Today, I'm old enough to understand the enormous sacrifice that these soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen and their families have made for my freedom.  So, on this day especially, I'd like say "thank you."  I won't forget what you did, nor will I ever take for granted the liberty that you defended with your life.

Here's a video that I believe did a pretty decent job of explaining what today's about.  Hope you like it, and that you have a very Happy Memorial Day!


Shady Del Knight said...

Where have all the flowers, young girls, young men, soldiers and graveyards gone...long time passing?

I'll never understand war and I'll never forget the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for you and for me. I remember Memorial Day being called Decoration Day back in the 50s when I lived in York. When you described the placement of the trumpets playing "Taps" I played it in my mind and imagined the impact. It's hard to be happy on Memorial Day. Thankful might be the word. Thank you very much, Joan, for reminding us that this day has a specific meaning. As decades pass holidays are becoming generic. All they mean to some people is a day off, a family get together, a cookout and, if you're lucky, a sale at your favorite store at the mall. We must do a better job of teaching our children about the real meaning behind days like this. I'm so glad you got a chance to visit my blog today and find out how much I admire you, Joan. Bless you!

Eva Gallant said...

That was a beautiful video! Thanks so much for posting it!

Sylvia K said...

Beautiful post and video, Joan! Thank you!


Rachel said...

My grandfather never understood why he was not one of the 26,000 who didn't return from Iwo Jima. Their loss affected him profoundly until the day he died. Thank you for posting this.

ReformingGeek said...

Very moving. Thank you for the reminder. I closed my yoga class this morning with our hands at the heart center, honoring the fallen.

I have an uncle who was at Omaha Beach. He also saw so many die.

Cheeseboy said...

Well said. I shall remember this in Memorial Days in the future.

-j.p. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
-j.p. said...

Excellent post. It is well after Memorial Day (6/18/11) as I sit and read this. I posted a blog post a few days prior to reading this that touches on the same spirit that your husband has expressed.

I too believe that, though it is a great opportunity to get together with friends and family, there needs to be that remembering, that honoring, that pausing in silence for those who gave there all.

Thanks for expressing this so well (as usual!)

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