Friday, May 28, 2010

MEMORIAL DAY ~ Remember!

One of my favorite holidays is Memorial Day. It means the end of the school year is looming and a summer of longer days and sleeping a little longer too. It saddens me that so many people treat it as a day of vacation from work or school, not that I'm guilt-free in that regard. But I was lucky enough to have a grandmother who treated the holiday with the respect that it deserved.

When I was little, we always used to visit my grandparents for the long weekend. My grandma's brother had died serving in WWII and every Memorial Day, she went to the cemetery with flowers to put on Carlisle's grave. I was too young to realize the significance of her actions but I do remember them. On a side note, this particular cemetery had peacocks that strutted around the hillside and grandma would always let me sit and watch the birds until they finally unfurled their tails into the glorious, multi-colored arc. Poignant memories but valuable, too. It doesn't matter what religion, race or political persuasion we are, we are all Americans, served by men and women who fight for our freedoms.

Some Memorial Day facts:

The holiday was originally known as 'Decoration Day' and first observed May 30, 1868 to help the country conquer the horrors and divide after the Civil War.

Memorial Day did not become a federally recognized national holiday until 1971.

At 3:00 PM local time, there is a one-minute 'Moment of Remembrance'. According to, this is "an act of national unity in which all Americans, alone or with family and friends, honor those who died for our freedom. It will help to reclaim Memorial Day as the sacred and noble holiday it was meant to be. In this shared remembrance, we connect as Americans."

This Monday, talk to your kids and help them understand the importance of remembering the brave veterans who fought and died for our freedoms. And take a moment as well for yourself, to forget about how challenging your life may be and simply appreciate for a day what makes our country so great and how fortunate you are.


  1. Very nice Valerie
    I'm so glad someone close to you helped you see how special the day is. My grandfather's family lost a few members during WWII so Memorial Day meant remembering them, though any day was fair game to hear about the time granddad stole one of his sisters' letters from her sweetheart stationed in Germany. Stories, old and new are the best way to help every generation remember. Happy Memorial Day!

  2. My husband is an Air Force veteran so Memorial Day is special to us. Thanks for a wonderful post.

  3. Hi Valerie,
    When I was young, I marched in the Memorial Day parade in my hometown of New Lebanon, NY, with the Girl Scouts. We always ended up at the Cemetery of the Evergreens, where there was a ceremony, 14 gun salute and a remembrance of those who sacrificed so much to preserve the freedoms we have today. Even as a young girl, I new the significance of the day. Sadly, I don't believe young people are taught that today.

    A side note - the parade always ended at the gravesite of Samuel Tilden, who ran for the presidency against Rutherford B. Hayes and lost by one electoral vote. Tilden was born in New Lebanon and is buried there. He is the no-stoplight town's only claim to fame, until a couple of years ago, when the film "Taking Woodstock" was filmed there. I lived in the town for 18 years and never saw anything special about it, until I was an adult and looked back.

    Anyway, Happy Memorial Day everyone. Remember those who have fallen in our defense. They didn't die in vain.

  4. My late-husband was a Viet Nam vet and my late-father was a WW 2 vet. Memorial Day is very special to me and my family. God bless all the vets still living and remember all those who have died.