by Patricia Feager, 5/28/18
"And I'm proud to be an American,
Where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men that died,
Who gave that right to me."
--- Lee Greenwood, Country Singer
Today we pay tribute and humble gratitude to the veterans (men and women) who sacrificed their lives for our country. Although the observance of Memorial Day didn't exist until the late 19th Century, honoring those who served and lost their lives dates back thousands of years. In May 1868, General John A. Logan did more than just remembered those heroes, he issued a decree that "May 30 should be a nationwide day of commemoration for more than 620,000 soldiers killed in the recently ended Civil War." It was formerly known and Decoration Day to lay flowers at the graves of the war heroes.
They say behind every great man is a woman. Perhaps, the General got that idea from the women's groups in the South, where mothers, wives, and grandmothers decorated their loved ones graves. Sadly, it didn't become a federal holiday until 1971. Arlington Cemetery, confirms to many what Plato said:
"Only the dead have seen the end of war."
As many cities, states, and communities observe Memorial Day as a National Holiday, please also take a moment to remember the POW's or those missing in action, the unaccounted ones, and those forgotten ones, whose remains or whereabouts are unknown. May they all rest in peace.