We should revive a long ago custom...Decoration Day was borne of the desire to honour fallen War Between the State soldiers. On 5 May 1868, General John Logan, said, "The 30th 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 churchyard in the land." In his General Order No. 11, he chose May 30th because there was no significance to any battle fought during the War.
Until World War I, Decoration Day wasn't acknowledged by southern states; it was then the focus was changed from one war to any war. Congress passed the National Holiday Act of 1971 that said the last Monday in May would be Memorial Day. Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee and Georgia additionally have separate days for honoring the Confederate war dead.
In Flanders Field, was written by Lt. Col. John McCrae, MD to commemorate that dreadful 1915 battle in the fields of Belgium's Ypres Salient, "those seventeen days of Hades...".
"In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
in Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
in Flanders fields."
"Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.
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,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.
And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We'll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields."
Professor Michael had the idea to sell artificial poppies to raise money for American's disabled veterans. Prior to her death in 1944, the American Legion adopted the poppy as its symbol and poppy sales raised more than $200 million for war veterans rehabilitation.
If you have an opportunity to purchase one of those poppies, please do and then...wear it proudly. It means someone's son or husband or brother or father died so we could have the freedom to speak our minds...whether it's anything worth saying or not. In recent years, it also means someone's daughter, or mother, or wife or sister died and we should Never Forget the ultimate price untold thousands have paid for our freedom.
How terribly sad the current Administration doesn't see the need to be grateful and, as a result, our veterans are being treated poorly, with complete and utter disrespect by people not fit to lick their boots! Twenty-two (22!) veterans commit suicide every day, the average claim takes more than 6 months to be processed, and, in 2009 the number of veterans that were waiting for more than year to have their benefits approved was 11,000. As of February 2014 it was 245,000! This article, "25 Signs That Military Veterans Are Being Treated Like Absolute Trash Under The Obama Administration" is enough to make you weep. Christ said, "But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken."
Next time you see a veteran selling poppies, buy one; it's only a dollar and it's for the rehabilitation of disabled vets, or, why not give a $5 bill and say, "Thank you for serving!"
Blessings ~ military men and women, past and present, living and dead ~ Lt. Col. McCrae, MD ~ Moina Michael ~ Veterans of Foreign Wars ~ American Legion ~ red poppies ~