Lest We Forget
Red, white & blue remembrance
ribbon - clipartpanda.com
Today we celebrate Memorial Day in the United States. It has become a Federal holiday and falls on the last Monday of May.
Originally this day was called Decoration Day and originated after the American Civil War to remember fallen Union soldiers. Confederate soldiers were remembered at different times but mostly during the month of May.
By the early 1900's the day commemorated all the war fallen and had been rechristened Memorial Day.
On Memorial Day the flag is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day.
The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service of their country. At noon their memory is raised by the living, who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.
Many observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials. Volunteers often place American flags on each grave site at national cemeteries and those containing the graves of veterans.
A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3 pm local time. Another tradition is for citizens to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff from dawn until noon local time.
For many Americans, the central event is attending one of the thousands of parades held on Memorial Day in large and small cities all over the country. Most of these feature marching bands and an overall military theme with the National Guard and other servicemen participating along with veterans and military vehicles from various wars.
Borrowing from a song sung by Canadian school children to remember the fallen:
“Soldiers and sailors and airmen, too
Fought for us across the sea;
Brave and unselfish, strong and true,
Keeping Canada free!
I’ll wear a poppy on Remembrance Day
To show I’m proud of what they did for me…”