To honor the lost: A brief history of Memorial Day
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
5/29/2017 (2 months ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Memorial Day is fast approaching and for many people it happens to be a day off work. Trips have been planned and parties organized, yet many people forget that Memorial Day is not intended to be an occasion of jubilation. Memorial Day has always been intended to serve as a day to remember those who died in war.
Memorial Day is a day to honor our lost heroes, those who gave all that we may live free.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Throughout the world, various traditions, possibly dating to prehistoric times, have celebrated those who fell during conflict. Graves have long been adorned with flowers, however the observances were always ad-hoc. In the United States, the first organized commemoration of the holiday took place during the American Civil War.
The roots of the holiday are subject to historical debate but there were several instances of memorial observances staged in the South, then shortly thereafter in the North, during the war. As soon as the war concluded, a public observance took place in Charleston, South Carolina, on May 1, 1865 dedicated to Union soldiers who died in an area prisoner of war camp.
In 1866, the idea of a special holiday to commemorate the war dead was proposed to former Union General John Murray, who shared the idea with fellow soldiers in New York. In addition to General Murray, the idea was also promoted by General John Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, a Union veterans organization. The notion quickly gathered support and national services were organized, patterned after observances in the former Confederacy. The day was referred to as "Decoration Day."
The occasion was soon replicated across several states in the following years. With 600,000 killed during the war, many Americans had reason to mourn.
In 1882, the name of the holiday began to change to Memorial Day, although its observances remained the same. The holiday was frequently observed and in 1971, the federal government officially proclaimed the day "Memorial Day" set for the last Monday in May.
Initially, the holiday which arguably began in the South, became a subject of division. Southerners objected to the northern promotion of the holiday and felt disenfranchised. Many Southern states refraind from official celebration for years, preferring instead to memorialize their war losses in other ways. Some places observed General Robert E. Lee's birthday instead and memorilized their dead on that day (Jan 19, also Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday).
However, the bitterness of the Civil War eventually faded and the holiday took on new significance as the U.S. found itself engaged in new wars around the globe.
Although the purpose of the holiday is to remember those who died in war, many Americans have forgotten its sting. It's an ironic twist, considering the United States remains in the midst of its longest running war in history, engaged against Al Qaeda and terrorists since 2001.
For most Americans, the holiday has become an extended weekend with festivals and other leisure activities scheduled for the time previously set aside for memorial observances. For the United States, the holiday marks the beginning of the summer season when children break from school and vacations start.
Despite the happy correlation between vacations and the holiday, many Americans still observe the original holiday and all its solemn decorum. Veterans groups stage memorial services to honor the dead as well as various churches and organizations. The President is expected to visit the tomb of the Unknown Soldier to lay a wreath, symbolizing the nation's reverence for those who sacrificed everything for the rest of us.
That the United States remains a free country, whose freedom is only jeopardized from within, is a testament to the courageous sacrifice of our veterans. Throughout American history over 1.32 million Americans have died in war. Another 1.5 million have been wounded. Countless others have lived with the psychological scars of war without the loss of limbs. And most Americans have seen or heard of war's devastating effect on their families and friends. Even today, private homes are torn apart by the collateral effects of war.
This is an epic price, but one that we still deem worth the sacrifice, all things considered. We still enlist our youth, we dedicate billions of dollars to defense, and we continue to improve the quality of life for our veterans, even if only in small increments.
The least that is asked of the rest of us is to pause and remember those who sacrificed for us. Although Memorial Day is dedicated to the memory of the dead, it is also fitting to remember our veterans who live with the scars of service.
Catholic Shopping .com is making it possible to remember veterans this Memorial Day by inviting readers to light a candle for our fallen heroes. Given that many of us will do little else that day but rest or play, it is the least we can do to show our gratitude.
May God bless our troops and may God bless America.
Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for AUGUST 2017
Artists. That artists of our time, through their ingenuity, may help everyone discover the beauty of creation.
It's unpopular to be a statue these days, as public monuments are being vandalized and destroyed to make social commentary. The vandalism ... continue reading
Arkansas may block tens of thousands of dollars in Medicaid funding from going to Planned Parenthood, a panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court ... continue reading
Hector Loya, mayor of Passaic, New Jersey, has ordered the removal of a shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe, which he says is illegal because ... continue reading
Mother shares heartbreaking photo of her dying daughter as she pulls the plug following overdose Watch
Cheryl Towery has shared a dramatic photo of her dying daughter, as she prepared to pull the plug on her life support. Her daughter, Elaina ... continue reading
There is a secret plan for America, and what we're seeing is just the start. The sinister plot has begun Watch
To the uninitiated eye, there is a movement afoot in the United States to remove monuments to the Confederacy. Few people care about what ... continue reading
by Catholic Online
- 10 US Sailors missing after serious collision in Southeast Asian ...
- Daily Readings for Tuesday, August 22, 2017
- Statue of St. Serra vandalized, are Christian crosses next?
- 'Annabelle: Creation': Catholic Exorcist discusses power of hit ...
- 'A Sign of the Times': A warning against 'expelling incoming ...
- Jerry Lewis passes away at 91, was most proud of his family HD Video
- St. Andrew the Scot: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, August 22, 2017
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017 HD
- Mother shares tragic photo of dying daughter as she pulled the plug on her life support HD
- Pope Francis asks for prayers following terror attacks in Spain HD
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017 HD