A Day to Pause, Think and Remember"
by Robert L. Dilenschneider
"Memorial Day is Monday, and most of us have plans for the holiday weekend: enjoying the first taste of summer, entertaining with friends, or just relaxing. This will always be part of what the Memorial Day weekend is all about. The other part, as we all know, is about honoring this country’s fallen heroes. We live in the greatest nation in the world only because time and time again brave men and women have been willing to fight for the freedoms we all too often take for granted.
Memorial Day began as an occasion to honor those who fought and died in the Civil War. Places in both the North and South claim to have originated it, from Macon, Ga., and Richmond, Va., to Boalsburg, Pa., and Carbondale, Ill. But in 1966, Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, N.Y., the birthplace of Memorial Day. There, a ceremony on May 5, 1866, honored local Civil War veterans. Businesses closed and residents flew flags at half-staff. Supporters of Waterloo’s claim say observances in other places were informal, not community-wide or one-time events.
After World War I the day was expanded to honor the service people of all American wars. In 1971 Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress, though it is still often called Decoration Day.
Thus, the men and women we honor this Memorial Day are all those who have served this nation from its founding 240 years ago- since the Revolutionary War, we have lost 1,010,485 men and women in combat- as well as all those who defend us now. Permit us to wish you a great weekend. But let us never forget the courageous men and women who have served and sacrificed so much in past wars so we could enjoy this holiday, just as we honor those who stand duty today to keep us safe."
“For the Fallen”
“Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They mingle not with laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labor of the day-time;
They sleep beyond their country’s foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.”
- Laurence Binyon,
“For the Fallen” (adapted)
We honor their sacrifice and service.