Remember them…

flag-at-the-cemetery-1507884210FOr Author's Blog But First Coffee

People often get confused about Memorial Day. They think of it as a day to remember those in active service (it isn’t, but thanking them for their service is always appropriate). They think of it has a day to honor veterans (it isn’t, that is in November).

Worse, they think of it as the day the pool opens, picnics start, the Jersey Shore comes to life, and summer begins. Those things may happen, but the day itself is intended as a solemn reminder. In 1868 the commander of the Grand Army of the Republic declared all Americans should decorate the graves of those who fell in the American Civil War on May 30 every year. Over the years the name changed from Decoration Day to Memorial Days, more wars gave us more reason to grieve and remember, and in 1971 the date moved from May 30 to the last Monday in May and it became a federal holiday at last.

Did you know flags should fly at half-staff until noon and then be raised to full staff? Did you know you should take a moment of silence at 3 PM with the rest of the United States to remember those who gave everything for this country? I often forget those, but I always remember the people who died in war, especially my nephew Anthony Kinslow who died in Iraq, and my dad who survived two wars but is no longer with us. (for more about the holiday see History.)

Picnics are fine and so are parades. When Sarge, my dad, was alive we never missed the Memorial Day parade. I met Beloved at a Memorial Day picnic. Memorial Day weekend, however, is not a good day to celebrate your birthday. It is almost as bad as Christmas for having your birthday get lost in the shuffle. I should know. Until it moved to Monday, mine was always the day after. Now either mine or my daughters’ always come during the weekend. We cope. This year we plan to go to get Hand and Stone Massage together to celebrate. Celebrating is good. But I will remember. Always remember.

But first… Coffee!


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Caroline Warfield, Author

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