Everyday is Memorial Day

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On May 5, 1868, Maj.

On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month. The Civil War was still fresh in people's minds and still hurt in their hearts.

Sadly, many Americans have lost this connection with their history.

In 1966, the federal government declared Waterloo, N.Y.as the official birthplace of Memorial Day, because it hosted an annual, communitywide event during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags. To ensure that our fallen soldiers are never forgotten, congress passed a law in the year 2000 the "National Law of Remembrance Act". Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners.

We owe our gratitude to those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

St. Augustine has traditionally celebrated Memorial Day with an observance at the St. Augustine National Cemetery. It was rich with symbolism. And I honor our fallen soldiers. After speeches, children from the Soldiers' and Sailors' Orphan Home and members of the GAR made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns.

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As a patriotic community, I would like to express the need and opportunity for our youth to learn what Memorial Day is about.

In Marshall, the D.F. Markham Post of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) and the Women's Relief Corps (W.R.C.) planned the Memorial Day observance ceremony for many years.

We only have to look around us to see what we have, but Memorial Day is when we remember why. He said, "It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died". On this most sober and significant of patriotic of American days, we should take some time to remember why it exists, even as we savor the break in our schedules it affords us.

It also has come to mark the unofficial beginning of summer, giving the day a more festive feel than its creators originally envisioned. Loved ones often find themselves in a unique and unexpected position: obligated or compelled to become a caregiver for someone who just moments ago was strong and capable but now needs extensive help. That is a comforting thought. This is also why Memorial Day has been called "Decoration Day" by some of the old timers of our area. It is as American as our flag.

"We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm". But this Memorial Day, think about the meaning of that empty tomb. It doesn't matter if the veteran served in wartime or saw combat. "They were quite a group, the boys of Vietnam - boys who fought a bad and vicious war without enough support from home, boys who were dodging bullets while we debated the efficacy of the battle".

So yes, enjoy the weekend; it is a busy one.

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