Happy Memorial Day: God Bless America’s Troops

My God!  How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!  ~Thomas Jefferson

I like writing early in the morning. Almost as much as I like sitting on a balcony overlooking the ocean with a cup of hot tea! So glad you can share a few minutes with me…

In the cemetery business, May is like December’s Christmas rush. For Memorial Day, everything has to be perfect, or as close as it can be. Every weed gone, every blade of grass cut, every shrub pruned. Not an easy task with spring rains and late season freezes in our part of the country. It’s also just two weeks after Mother’s Day, the second busiest weekend of the year.  

Most everyone will take a ‘trip’ on Memorial Day weekend – to place flowers on the graves of loved ones and dear friends. Memorial Day is not only the unofficial beginning of summer – picnics, vacations, sunshine and down-time – it’s also the one weekend of the year dedicated to memories. It’s important to remember, however, that the holiday is intended to honor those who gave their lives in service to our nation.

General John Logan, a Major General in the Union Army during the Civil War, is credited as the founder of Memorial Day. After the war, Gen. Logan resumed his seat in Congress. On May 5th 1868, Logan issued a proclamation to observe “Decoration Day” across America.

May 30th was chosen for the observance because it was not the anniversary of any Civil War battle. Twenty-seven states participated the first year. Most southern states refused to acknowledge the ‘union’ holiday for more than a decade. Instead, they held similar ceremonies on a separate day for Confederate heroes.

By World War I, Decoration Day honored veterans from any war. The holiday officially became “Memorial Day” in 1967 by Federal law. A year later, it moved to a floating date, the last Monday in May. Part of the national observance includes a ‘moment of remembrance’ at 3:00 p.m.

As you plan picnics, visit ancestors, and share your weekend with friends and family, take a few minutes to honor those who have preserved our lifestyle and heritage across the generations.

  • Fly a flag! Keep it aloft through September 11th and Veteran’s Day (Nov. 11th). If your flag is weathered, now is the perfect time to replace it. (Check with local veterans’ organizations to dispose of your tattered flag properly.)
  • Attend a Memorial Day observance. There is no more appropriate time to clap and cheer for our military heroes.
  • Take a flower or two from the bouquets you’re placing and put it on a nearby veteran’s grave. Even better, buy an extra bouquet for a veteran’s undecorated gravesite. They’re easy to find in American cemeteries – just look for the flags!
  • Say a prayer for the soldiers and families who are currently serving around the world.
  • Make a donation to a troop support project like USO or Support Our Troops.
  • Ask a veteran about their experiences. Many of those vital memories are lost with the deaths of our veterans. If you can, record their remembrances on tape or video-cam.
  • Walk through the cemeteries that you visit, and take a moment to appreciate the history and heritage preserved in those sacred grounds.

This is your opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to the many who serve and have served in our US Armed Forces. Let’s re-adopt the traditions of ‘Decoration Day’ and make them the focus of Memorial Day weekend. God bless and protect our troops and their families, and God bless America.

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