Monday, May 24, 2015 marks the 147th celebration of Memorial Day.
General John Logan, the National Commander of the Grand Army of The Republic, “In an effort to unite a divided country following the Civil War,” originated “Decoration Day” on May 30, 1868.
Observed by 1890 in all northern states, “Decoration Day” was slow to gain momentum in the southern states until the close of World War I. At that time, it was decided that the day should be celebrated as a way to honor the memory of all Americans who died fighting in any war at any time.
In 1971, Congress declared it a national holiday, officially changing the name to “Memorial Day” and moving it to the last Monday in May.
Here we are, 147 years later, still living in a world seemingly divided by politics, religion and ideological differences. It could be a sad commentary on the human condition, or we could turn it into the opportunity to come together in the spirit of honor, dignity and integrity.
That’s my choice! When I got up today I turned on the faucet and water came out; I flipped a switch and had electricity; my trash was collected and my mail delivered all with ease. These are just a few of the usual by-products of being an American. Privileges I hold dear and comforts I never want to be casual about. Somewhere, at some time, by someone wearing a uniform that represented this country – my freedoms – and yours were fought for. And won.
More than a 3-day holiday with lots of sales and plenty of partying, on this Memorial Day, please take a moment and pause to remember the shoulders on which the celebration rests. My uncles and brothers all served in every branch of the Armed Forces, as I’m sure yours did and may well still be serving.
Perhaps you could join a Veteran’s Day parade, or visit a cemetery and place a wreath on the grave of someone’s child, husband, brother, son. If you’re out and see a Vets or those currently serving, take a moment to look them in the eye, shake their hand and say thank you.
You might also consider joining in the National Moment of Remembrance. The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation.
I am so proud to have had the privilege to be born in this country and make an effort every day to help in “uniting a divided country” by healing the divisions within myself.
Thank you for your service, thank you for the celebration and for continuing to be a part of the love/healing and growth of the most wonderful country on earth, the United States of America. God Bless the USA!
All my best,
Universal Brotherhood Movement, Inc.