Skip to comments.The FReeper Foxhole - Memorial Day - Today We Remember Those Who Gave All - May 31st, 2004
Posted on 05/31/2004 1:24:13 AM PDT by snippy_about_it
are acknowledged, affirmed and commemorated.
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We hope the Foxhole in some small way helps us to remember and honor those who came before us.
On this day, we pay tribute to those whose lives were sacrificed for our freedom.
Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service to our country. It began during the Civil War when organized women's groups in several towns throughout the South decorated the graves of the Confederate war dead with flowers, wreaths and flags. Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5th, 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 May 30, 1868.
Memorial Day is celebrated at Arlington National Cemetery each year with a ceremony in which a small American flag is placed on each grave. Traditionally, the President or Vice President lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The occasion is also marked in almost every State on the last Monday in May. Several southern states, however, 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.
Here is General Logan's official order:
General Orders No.11, WASHINGTON, D.C., May 5, 1868 The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.
We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose among other things, "of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors, and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion." What can aid more to assure this result than cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their deaths the tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.
If our eyes grow dull, other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain to us.
Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from his honor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation's gratitude, the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan.
It is the purpose of the Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to lend its friendly aid in bringing to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.
Department commanders will use efforts to make this order effective.
By order of
JOHN A. LOGAN,
WM. T. COLLINS, A.A.G.
Thanks Snippy, excellent job on today's thread.
Dear Unknown Soldier
I am writing this letter to you, dear soldier, to ask for your forgiveness.
As we each take a moment of silence on Memorial Day we will remember the millions of brave and gallant soldiers who fought for our freedom and we will thank them for their courage and their sacrifice.
We will attempt to imagine what their sacrifice must have been like -- the days in the trenches, the constant ring of gunshots, the blast of bombs and buzz of fighter planes. We will consider life on the frontline caked in mud and blood, watching soldiers fall around us. We will try to comprehend the death and destruction in a constant ring of hell. We attempt to imagine the barbaric realities of war, the starving prisoners, the homeless, parentless children, the wounded and dying young men and women. And we will try to understand the pain of knowing we may never see our children or our families again.
You, Unknown Soldier, can help me to understand for your sacrifice was a huge one.
Your bravery and courage has gone without its medal and without a grave to bear its cross. You selflessly gave your namesake to preserve a way of life and now you stand valiantly amongst the poppies as a statue of honor, courage and of freedom.
We will never fully understand your suffering, your heartache and will never even know your identity. You could have been a father, a brother, a son, a grandfather, a nephew -- you could have even been me.
But, dear soldier, I write to tell you that you do have an identity and perhaps one of the most honorable. You represent each and every soldier gone before and those who came after. You represent freedom and peace for me and my neighbors. You represent a life of honor, courage and bravery.
And so, as I pause in two minutes of silent tribute I will no longer call you Unknown Soldier, for you have a name -- thousands of them. You are using each one of ours.
Lest we forget. . .Renowned Soldier.
During its relatively short duration from June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953, 54,246 Americans died in support of their country. Of these, 8,200 are listed as missing in action or lost or buried at sea.
Beautiful letter Sam. Thanks for posting it. Now it's time for some sleep. See you tomorrow.
Good Night Snippy.
In honor of our veterans.
Thank you for your service to our country.
We will never forget.
On This Day In History
Birthdates which occurred on May 31:
1469 Manuel I king of Portugal (1495-1521) during era of exploration
1557 Theodorus I (Fedor Ivanovitsj) czar of Russia (1584-98)
1701 Alexander Cruden compiler of a concordance to King James Bible
1810 Horatio Seymour Governor (Union), died in 1886
1818 John Albion Andrew Governor (Union), died in 1867
1819 Walt Whitman West Hills NY, poet (Leaves of Grass)
1837 Stephen Dodson Ramseur Major General (Confederate Army), died in 1864
1837 William Henry Fitzhugh "Rooney" Lee Major General (Confederate Army)
1857 Pius XI [Ambrogio DA Ratti] Italy, 259th Roman Catholic Pope (1922-39)
1861 Emily Perkins Bissell welfare worker (1st christmas seal drive, 1907)
1872 Charles G Abbot US, astronomer (Constant Sun)
1872 William Heath Robinson England, illustrator/cartoonist (Don Quixote)
1892 Gregor Strasser German pharmacist/NSDAP-Reich organization leader
1894 Fred Allen Cambridge MA, comedian (Fred Allen Radio Show)
1898 Norman Vincent Peale Ohio, clergyman (Power of Positive Thinking)
1908 Don Ameche Kenosha WI, actor (Cocoon, Trading Places)
1912 Henry M "Scoop" Jackson (Senator-D-WA)
1920 Edward Bennett Williams lawyer/team owner (Redskins, Baltimore Orioles)
1921 Robert Arthur Ley UK, sci-fi author (Telepath, Power of X)
1922 Denholm Elliott London England, actor (Alfie, Cuba, Doll's House, King Rat)
1930 Clint Eastwood San Fransisco CA, actor (Dirty Harry)/mayor (Carmel CA)
1931 John Schrieffer US physicist (Nobel 1972)
1934 Jim Hutton Binghamton NY, actor (Ellery Queen)
1937 Vladislav Ivanovich Gulyayev Russia, cosmonaut
1938 Peter Yarrow New York NY, (Peter, Paul & Mary-Puff the Magic Dragon)
1939 Terry Waite Anglican Church envoy/Lebanese hostage
1941 Johnny Paycheck Greenfield OH, singer (Take This Job & Shove It)
1943 Joe Namath Beaver Falls PA, NFL QB (New York Jets), the $400,000 man (1969 Superbowl)
1943 Sharon Gless Los Angeles CA, actress (Chris Cagney-Cagney & Lacey)
1944 Mick Ralphs guitarist (Mott the Hoople, Bad Company)
1946 Rainer Werner Fassbinder German director (Marriage of Maria Braum)
1948 Rhea Perlman Brooklyn NY, actress (Carla-Cheers, Zena-Taxi)
1950 Tom Berenger Chicago IL, actor (Big Chill, Gettysburg)
1960 Chris Elliott New York NY, actor/comedian (Get a Life, David Letterman Show)
1961 Lea Thompson Rochester Minnesota, actress (Back to the Future, Space Camp)
1965 Brooke Shields New York NY, model/actress (Blue Lagoon, Suddenly Susan)
1971 Sarah O'Hare model (Cosmopolitan-Jan 1994)
I'd done this a few times previously..first in 98 when the son of an old friend, whom I went through Quantico with, newly commissioned, was in the city..been able to do it twicw more since then..a few years we were away, and once it was impossible becauce the club was hostign an all-weekend tournament. This year, the pieces fell in place. But I decided that junior officers were probably getting enough (G)..thought it time to give the EM's a break in the fresh air and sunshine...Friends in San Diego did all the scouting and screening...Told them if they knew four young marines who were going to be in for Fleet week, and wanted to play a round of golf on Sunday.. Had to be Sunday becuase we have a member guestwith another club, and Sunday was our "away" day.. My only requirement was that they could reasonably play the game...get it around in less that 100...Well, many phone calls and email later, all arranged..Told them I'd meet them at the train at 8am , if the wanted to go to church with me, or 9 am if they wanted to sleep in a little..met them at the 9am train, happily, they were in uniform...I hadn't asked, but I hoped..four LC's..all splendid specimens of American youth.. I actually wasn't planning on playing, was going to walk the course with them for the round, being whatever help or assistance I could. We got to the clubhouse a little after nine, went in for a light breakfast. They were the center fo atention..had to drag them away for our tee-time..They brought slacks..we gaev then a club golf shirt, and the pro outfitted them with everythign. Them to my happy surprise, at the starter's, there were 4 other groups waiting to go off. They each grabbed one of my guests, actually, "kidnapped" is closer to it..I had no say whatsoever, and the four groups went off. I was instantly excess baggage..an a very happy guy. I followed them around the course, going from group to group..and was very happy to be ignored...My friends and club members were determined that each of those four young men was gonna have a great afternoon. We all finished up around 1:30, everyone showered, my four young marines, now resplendent again, we all went to the veranda for lunch, seemed like everyone wanted to come over, say hello, talk with them, shake their hands, touch the uniform. We have many young ladies working the summer as waitresses..they were all over the lads,and I do believe a phone number or e-addy may have been exchanged..anyways, one of our more ostentatious members insisted on givign the boys, now suitably lubricated. a ride back to the train station at 4:40 in his new HUMMER..hardly the military version...good fun, but ironic in a sense....
The point that I wanted to make, aside from just the pleasure of sharing a good story with you all, is that much has been written lately about the demographics of our volunteer force. There's some truth to that, sadly, but I think it's more a lack of first hand knowledge, and contact..We've got 325 members, probably 250 baby boomers. I think I, and 3 others, were in the service, and I don't know one person's kid who's going in, or is in..Some how we need to "outreach" for want of a better word..mayeb what we really need to do is to find a way to reach out to them when they come home, when they complete their tours..whether it's mentoring, advice, maybe helping their families here, while they're deployed. It seems a no brainer. I saw lots of my friends press the business cards, with home and cells numbers and addresses written ont he back, on all these four young marines, tellign them to call when they got back, or to write, or if they needed help with anythign...There was a tremendous amount of love, and good will, yesterday afternoon..Made me very proud.
And I can tell you that there is already talk about doign somethng on a much large scale for next year...there's talk about forming a "committee" to make plans...I heard thoughts about having a whole ships's company up for the weekend, putting them up with folks....lordy, these poor people who never served, they don't know what they're doing...they'll have to lock up their wives and daughters next year....
"We have gone forth from our shores repeatedly over the last hundred years and weve done this as recently as the last year in Afghanistan and put wonderful young men and women at risk, many of whom have lost their lives, and we have asked for nothing except enough ground to bury them in, and otherwise we have returned home to seek our own, you know, to seek our own lives in peace, to live our own lives in peace. But there comes a time when soft power or talking with evil will not work where, unfortunately, hard power is the only thing that works."
We have many young ladies working the summer as waitresses..they were all over the lads,and I do believe a phone number or e-addy may have been exchanged.
OK now I'm jealous! :-)
Excellent essay, snippy.
Exceptional thread, snippy. Thank You.
Beautiful post for this day.
May you and yours have a memorable Memorial Day.