In honor of the DEAD for their undying memory and sacrifice – Memorial Day 2011

May 28, 2011

 

 

History

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women’s groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, “Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping” by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication “To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead” (Source: Duke University’s Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920). While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it’s difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860’s tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, each contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in Gen Logan giving his official proclamation in 1868. It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.

General John A. Logan
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [LC-B8172- 6403 DLC (b&w film neg.)]

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis’ birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.

In 1915, inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” Moina Michael replied with her own poem:

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

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She then conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Later a Madam Guerin from France was visiting the United States and learned of this new custom started by Ms.Michael and when she returned to France, made artificial red poppies to raise money for war orphaned children and widowed women. This tradition spread to other countries. In 1921, the Franco-American Children’s League sold poppies nationally to benefit war orphans of France and Belgium. The League disbanded a year later and Madam Guerin approached the VFW for help. Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922 the VFW became the first veterans’ organization to nationally sell poppies. Two years later their “Buddy” Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. In 1948 the US Post Office honored Ms Michael for her role in founding the National Poppy movement by issuing a red 3 cent postage stamp with her likeness on it.

Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.

There are a few notable exceptions. Since the late 50’s on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 1,200 soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing. In 1951, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of St. Louis began placing flags on the 150,000 graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery as an annual Good Turn, a practice that continues to this day. More recently, beginning in 1998, on the Saturday before the observed day for Memorial Day, the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts place a candle at each of approximately 15,300 grave sites of soldiers buried at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park on Marye’s Heights (the Luminaria Program). And in 2004, Washington D.C. held its first Memorial Day parade in over 60 years.

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<Some masons that I know, here in Austin, take the time to visit their local cemeteries and find the graves of soldiers and place them at those.  They use their own money to do that.  I don’t know any church or synagogue that does it.  The city and town councils sure don’t.  Shameful!>

 

 

To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps.”

The Moment of Remembrance is a step in the right direction to returning the meaning back to the day. What is needed is a full return to the original day of observance. Set aside one day out of the year for the nation to get together to remember, reflect and honor those who have given their all in service to their country.

But what may be needed to return the solemn, and even sacred, spirit back to Memorial Day is for a return to its traditional day of observance. Many feel that when Congress made the day into a three-day weekend in with the National Holiday Act of 1971, it made it all the easier for people to be distracted from the spirit and meaning of the day. As the VFW stated in its 2002 Memorial Day address: “Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed greatly to the general public’s nonchalant observance of Memorial Day.”

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On January 19, 1999 Senator Inouye introduced bill S 189 to the Senate which proposes to restore the traditional day of observance of Memorial Day back to May 30th instead of “the last Monday in May”. On April 19, 1999 Representative Gibbons introduced the bill to the House (H.R. 1474). The bills were referred the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Government Reform.

To date, there has been no further developments on the bill. Please write your Representative and yourSenators, urging them to support these bills. You can also contact Mr. Inouye to let him know of your support.

Washington crosses Delaware - vintage art clip

Visit our Help Restore the Traditional Day of Observance page for more information on this issue, and for more ways you can help.

To see what day Memorial Day falls on for the next 10 years, visit the Memorial Day Calendar page.

 

 

 

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Virginia – Arlington – The Horror of a fallen Vets DAD

September 21, 2010

Oh my lord!

This is gut wrenching.  I can not imagine this.

I applaud the dad for making sure that this was, indeed, his son.

The reason that we have this sort of distrust is due to the President and the UNETHICAL government that we are DYING for.  THAT is why this is going on.  The government is something that people spit on, because of the stench that comes from it.  The stench of the body is nothing in comparison to the stench that is raining upon us and causing AMERICA to ROT from within.

Obama and his CZARS and the controversy over his birth certificate, the Congress and the Senate who have long lost the want or need to hear the people.  The elite who have been creating Sedition by foistering a GLOBAL ideology, which is, in it’s nature,  SEDITION, and Treason when they fund it.  They take Americas greatness, and use it, to CREATE a one WOLD GOVERNMENT, in which SHE (America) is no longer GREAT, but has shrugged to her knees by the weight of the WORLD that the elitists have foisted upon her.  All the blood spilled for what?  To be just another country in their repertoire of governments?

The game is over.  The government is trying to rip up this country and the PEOPLE are the only ones who can stop them.  And WE CAN.  YES.  WE CAN.  Can you hear me Mr Obama?

Marine’s father: Arlington officials broke their word on disinterment:

Scott Warner just wanted to make sure his son’s remains were properly buried, but officials wouldn’t cooperate

THURSDAY, SEP 16, 2010 18:40 ET

Soldier's father: Arlington officials broke their word on disinterment

Marine Col. Gregory Boyle, left, pays his respects to the parents of Pvt. Heath D. Warner, of Canton, Ohio, Melissa and Scott Warner, after handing them the U.S. flag that was draped his casket, during funeral service at Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, Va., Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2006

Scott Warner traveled to Washington from Canton, Ohio, this week for the disinterment of his son’s remains at Arlington National Cemetery. Warner wanted to be sure his son Heath, a Marine killed in Iraq in 2006, was buried in the right spot. He was worried because the Arlington National Cemetery scandal, uncovered by Salon in a yearlong investigation, had unnerved him, and some of his son’s burial paperwork contained disturbing discrepancies.

The media covered Heath’s disinterment Wednesday closely, including the conclusion that Heath was buried correctly. But that’s far from the whole story.

“This thing has been portrayed as some big success story,” Warner told Salon during a telephone interview Thursday as he drove back to Ohio. “It was a disaster. It was a desecration of honor.”

It was also macabre. Warner says what really happened that day shows just how far the public trust in Arlington has evaporated and that the Army should be stripped of oversight of the cemetery. “Did I expect to be digging through my son’s casket looking for an arm? No,” he said. “For a family to go through what my family went through yesterday is beyond reproach.”

Warner had been suspicious even before he arrived in Virginia. During a Sept. 9 phone call with Kathryn Condon, the new executive director at the cemetery who was put in place this summer to clean up the scandal, Condon said a local funeral home had confirmed holding Heath’s remains just prior to his burial at Arlington in 2006. The same funeral home, however, had informed Warner there were no such records, Warner said.

Next, when Condon agreed to dig up Heath’s remains, she wanted it all done at 7 a.m., Warner says, before the cemetery opened to the public. “She tried to change the time from 8 a.m. to 7 a.m. so she could keep people out,” Warner said. “I told her I would be there at 8.” (He was.)

Then Condon said that Warner could bring two reporters to the cemetery with him, but no photography or video was allowed. “I said to her, you don’t have a problem with the media when everything is picturesque and you get those amazing photos,” Warner recalled. “But when it gets to the ugly side of your mistakes, you want to hide it.” (Warner lost this battle.)

Warner was so suspicious of the cemetery, he made Arlington agree not to open Heath’s casket until he got there. He wanted to see that process to make sure it was on the up-and-up.

“They said they were going to dig out the grave the night before and pump out any water that was in the vault,” but not open his son’s casket. Warner said he was insistent and the agreement was clear. “They said they would not open the vault or open his casket until we arrived on the 15th.”

The plan was that Arlington would pull up the casket with Warner there, and a friend of Heath’s would look at the remains to confirm his identity. This way, Warner would not have to see his son’s remains. Heath was killed in a roadside bomb attack in Anbar Province, Iraq. His body was badly ravaged by the blast, requiring a closed-casket funeral.

But when Warner arrived near his son’s gravesite, he was shocked when Condon handed him Heath’s dog tags. “Kathryn approached and said that they had opened the grave,” he said. “They proceeded to tell us they opened the vault, brought up the casket and made an external identification and gave me his dog tags,” he remembered. “They broke the agreement,” he said.

Warner said his mind raced. He felt unsure of who or what to trust. “Everything had been compromised,” he said.

Warner insisted they raise his son’s casket again. Arlington agreed. “The lid was (partly) open,” Warner said he noticed as the casket came up. “It looked like my son’s remains were going to fall out.”

Arlington workers put Heath’s casket on a flatbed truck, covered it with plastic and an American flag, and drove to a secluded warehouse on the cemetery perimeter. “It was like a garage,” Warner recalled.

When the casket was opened, Warner panicked. He felt like he would never get real closure unless he did the unthinkable. “I literally jumped up on the flatbed. Don’t ask me how I did it,” he said.

He looked at the remains. His son’s body was unrecognizable from the blast and the decomposition. “I could not even tell you what was there,” he said, describing the grisly inside of his son’s coffin. “It was so bad. It was a ghastly sight.”

Warner remembered a distinctive tattoo on his son’s arm. “I took my hat off. I took my jacket off. I began to dig in his casket,” he said. “They gave me a pair of latex gloves.”

Warner found his son’s torso. “The body had rolled,” he said. Under the torso was Heath’s arm. “It was underneath his back,” Warner said. “I began to rub some mud off his arm. I was able to make an identification because his tattoo was intact and viewable.”

Warner said he wants people to know what happened that day, how a scandal and further missteps by Arlington have driven grieving families past the edge. He says the scandal at Arlington followed by the cemetery’s bungling of the disinterment made him desperate for closure, and that his trust in Arlington has deteriorated to nothing. “I had no choice,” he said about going through his son’s remains. “This was just beyond anything I ever imagined. It is something I will have to live with for the rest of my life.”

Warner said he has no confidence that the Army, which has overseen the cemetery for years, can also be responsible for fixing the problems there: “These people should all just be fired.”

For weeks, the Army has not responded to any questions from Salon or any requests for interviews about the Arlington scandal, including a request to interview Condon.

http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2010/09/16/disinterment_arlington/index.html


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