Did a little research this morning on Memorial Day. I was curious as to the history behind it. In 1862, General John A. Logan called for a nationwide day of remembrance. It was first observed on May 30, 1868 and was called Decoration Day and was intended to honor those who died in service during the Civil War. This observance was conducted on a statewide level for decades.
World War I brought attention to the need for all soldiers who died in all wars in service of their country to be honored. Decoration Day evolved into Memorial Day and was still observed on May 30. Finally, in 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. This established Memorial Day as an official federal holiday and gave federal employees a three-day weekend. The commemorative day was also changed to the last Monday in May and was first observed in 1971.
Today, there are many who feel that the original meaning of the observance of Memorial Day was tainted by Congress with the changes that they made. The date is often better known as a holiday weekend signifying the beginning of summer and rather than Honoring Fallen Soldiers, the weekend is marked by parties and barbecues to kick off the summer.
Abraham Lincoln was correct, when in his Gettysburg Address he stated, "The world will little note, nor long remember what we say her, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated her to the unfinished work which they who fought her have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain--that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom--and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." Remember these words, today and always and especially each time you enter a voting booth. These men and women died for your freedom to do just that.
I ask you today to remember all soldiers who have died in defense of freedom for this country. Take a quiet moment and thank them because their selfless service has made it possible for this country to exist. Take another moment to remember the sacrifice that their families have made. Our church honors those who serve in defense of freedom several times during each Liturgy. Remember to also thank God for them and ask Him to keep them safe with Him in Heaven.
Wife, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Nurse, Grandmother, Friend...that's me in a nutshell!