Memorial Day 2012
Posted 26 May 2012 - 03:27 PM
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.
Posted 26 May 2012 - 08:21 PM
Little did I think we would some day be a country led by a renegade of dubious background. God Bless the troops and God save the United States.
Posted 27 May 2012 - 12:45 AM
Memorial Day is not about death. It is about duty.
By Ralph Kinney Bennett
Friday, May 25, 2012
For the majority of Americans, Memorial Day is first and foremost a three-day weekend. Time to watch the Indianapolis 500 or a baseball game; time to open the swimming pool or have a picnic. The American flag will be appropriated to embellish ads for supermarkets, department stores, car dealers, and home improvement centers. Sales on everything from garden fertilizer to bedroom furniture will be accompanied by perfunctory messages urging us to “remember those who died for our country” as we clip our coupons and make our way to the mall. The nearest most folks will get to any graveyard, let alone a military cemetery, is a file photo in the local newspaper or obligatory footage on the television news.
It is perhaps inevitable that days set aside for even the most poignant purposes soon become mere “holidays.” The majority of people observe them as such, ignoring even their rote civic rituals. So it is with Memorial Day. Only a relatively small core of people–veterans, those still in the military, their relatives, a cadre of willing, obliged, or calculating politicians, and those citizens who retain a vestigial sense of tradition or patriotism–plan and participate in its observation.
At our cemetery on the hill above Ligonier, Pennsylvania, the observation has already begun. The folks from the veterans’ organizations have walked the rows and planted fresh American flags at the graves of their comrades. You can see hundreds of them fluttering in the sunlight or soaking limply in the rain, and there are thousands more, millions more, in cemeteries all across the United States. And in U.S. military cemeteries all over the world, the marshaled lines of simple stones stand as milestones marking the endless road of duty.
Memorial Day is not about death.
It is about duty.
And about the ultimate limit of duty–sacrifice.
It is a time to remember that who we are and what we are as a nation unique in history has depended on our sense of duty and its inevitable call to sacrifice.
And while the particular duty–the often perilous duty–of defending our country is accepted by the professional soldier, it has often been imposed on many others and carried out reluctantly and with trepidation. For most, this duty has meant the sacrifice of time–“the best years of our lives”—and of broken bodies. But for many others it has meant a sacrifice of life itself.
It is easy to forget what those gravestones and fluttering flags mean; easy to fly on past the cemetery, headed for the lake or ball game without giving it a thought. I’ve been no better than most about this. So in recent years, I have made it a point to remember. I drive up to the Ligonier Valley Cemetery on or around Memorial Day. I park on the narrow road below Section D and walk up the grassy, flag-bedecked slope to row 4. There at my feet are two small rectangles of granite. Incised on the larger, older one is the inscription:
ALVIN P. CAREY 1916 – 1944 S/Sgt 38 Inf 2nd Div
A few feet below this monument, a newer, smaller stone, emplaced years later, bears Staff Sergeant Carey’s name and the words CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR. I never look down at those gray rectangles set against the green grass without my mind rushing back to a hot day in July 1948 when, as a little boy, I sat in a church pew transfixed by something I had never seen before–a coffin covered completely by a fresh new American flag.
Alvin Carey, quiet, bookish Alvin Carey, had come home. His body had been removed from a military grave in France and brought back to the green and forested valley he loved. I remember little about that day except my restlessness in the heat and the creaking sound of the floor and wooden pews in Laughlintown Christian Church as I stared at that flag-draped coffin and tried to imagine a soldier inside. It would be many, many years before I understood who he was and what he had done.
Posted 28 May 2012 - 12:11 PM
"I can now state, with some certainty, that the eve of battle is upon us. Toward this end, I have ordered the evacuation of Manhattan, and have ordered my men to take up stronger positions along the Brooklyn heights. At this time, my troops consist entirely of Rhode Island militia, and smallwoods Marylanders, a total of five thousand troops to stand against... twenty-five thousand of the enemy. ... As I write these words, the enemy is plainly in sight beyond the river, and I begin to notice that many of us are lads under fifteen and old men, none of whom can truly be called soldiers. How it will end, only providence can direct. But dear God, what brave men... I shall lose... before this business... ends. Your humble, and obedient..." - George Washington
Military historians record that Washington won only one decisive battle. But, it was the one he HAD to win, and he did.
God Bless the men and women, and their families and loved ones, who have sacrificed for a nation not traveled, land unseen, Americans unknown, generations unborn, but principles unending. We stand tall on your shoulders with the same certainty of George Washington, knowing our greatest test lies ahead. May we be be worthy of what you have given us, and may we never forget why we are still a free people.
This post has been edited by furrpiece: 28 May 2012 - 12:32 PM
Posted 28 May 2012 - 10:54 PM
Posted 28 May 2012 - 10:56 PM
So today is the day when they said we're supposed to remember. Remember the way they stood up for us. But the truth of it is, when you know what really happened, if you were there when the ground started shaking, if you saw the world turn red, and you felt the rug get pulled out from under you... well, you'll never need the day. You just remember because you can't forget.
We never thought of what we did as sacrifice. We just were who we were and did what we did. We gave what we had to give. We weren't angels and we weren't saints. We weren't saviors or heroes. We were just soldiers.
One of us gave twenty years, until they told him that was enough. Now he sits at home and wishes he could have given more. One of us gave twelve years, and ten of his soldiers. When they cut him down from the rafter they found him hanging from, his face said he was sorry he couldn't bear the wait of it anymore. One of us gave two years and then his life for his fellow soldiers. He doesn't think about it at all. And he never will.
We don't know if there's forgiveness. We don't know if there's redemption or damnation. We ask for none of it. We only give, freely and unselfishly, with no thought for reward. And if some of us gave all, it's because they were the best of us.
"When you get up in the morning and you see that crazy sun
Keep me in your heart for awhile
There's a train leaving nightly called 'When All Is Said and Done"
Keep me in your heart for awhile"
Posted 29 May 2012 - 10:19 AM
'President Barack Obama today paid tribute to the nation's fallen warriors during a moving ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery as America remembered its veterans through Memorial Day services throughout the country.
The president is participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, and is expected to marking the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Mr Obama said during the Arlington service that 'for the first time in nine years our troops are not fighting and dying in Iraq' and that the war in Afghanistan is 'winding down'.
Standing in front of a crowd of members of the military and the families of veterans who died in various wars, the President acknowledged that the pain caused by war was felt by the families of fallen soldiers 'long after the guns have fallen silent'.
In that vein, he said that mourners can be seen daily at Arlington National Cemetery daily, not just on Memorial Day.
Mr Obama spoke to an audience gathered under a brilliant sun, saying 'these 600 acres are home to Americans from every part of the country who gave their lives in every part of the globe.'
During the brief remarks, Mr Obama stressed that he does not take the decision to send American troops into war zones lightly.
'As Commander-in-Chief, it is the most wrenching decision I have to make,' he said.'
This post has been edited by scotsman: 29 May 2012 - 10:22 AM
Posted 29 May 2012 - 11:15 PM
I served in a time of peace, I gave nine years and am proud of my time but stand in awe every time I see some sub 20 year old 'kid' in a uniform and a patch on there right shoulder(patch means time in a combat zone). I stand in awe of my father who saw the terrible after math of the Korean War. Although I never knew my Grandpappy I honor his memory knowing that he walked the tremnhes of WWI.
I stand in awe knowing that on my moms side my great grand pappy did his duty to help kick some Muslim Extremists asses in the Bolo War.
You Mr President do not deserve to even scrub the boots of our bravest men and women. You talk of there sacrifices and how it's all appreciated and what not, but yet you stab them in the back every chance you can get. Before you even ran for President you where in effect aiding the enemy by openly criticizing the very war on terror and how it was being conducted, and know that you are(President) you have cut money, bowed to foreign heads of state, and set in motion policies that have not only weakened our military during a time of war, but also weakened our nation.
You have spoken of killing Bin Laden and how you gave the order, but said little or nothing of how the very methods and procedures which made this possible you opposed. But, be damned if you haven't taken all the credit. You have given speeches about how great our Men and Women in Uniform are, but yet you have set forth rules which are getting them killed and maimed.
You have spoke of 'justice' but yet we read of terrorists going free while brave and honorable Warriors sit and rot in prison for doing there jobs.
You see all this is possible not because of your actions or your policies, or the policies of any politician. It is possible because of brave people who went to places we had never heard of and lived through things so terrible they never wanted to speak of it again. They didn't concern themselves with politics or hurt feelings. They only concerned themselves with getting a job done and coming home when that job was DONE. Not when it was convenient, not weather or not it was popular.
Ask yourself something, in the last 100 years how many presidents who where beloved by the military are viewed well historically, vs those hated.
Think about it.