Memorial Day:A Day Of Honor And A National Moment Of Remembrance!

As I’ve gotten older, my appreciation for this day has grown immensely, as has my education of its history.

Originally declared ‘Decoration Day,’ there is some dispute as to when it was first observed. Some say women’s groups in the South were decorating the graves of Confederate soldiers before the end of the War Between The States, as evidenced by the following song.

Kneel Where Our Loves Are Sleeping
Words by G.W.R.
Music by Mrs. L. Nella Sweet

published 1867

Kneel where our loves are sleeping, Dear ones days gone by,
Here we bow in holy reverence, Our bosoms heave the heartfelt sigh.
They fell like brave men, true as steel, And pour’d their blood like rain,
We feel we owe them all we have, And can but weep and kneel again.
CHORUS
Kneel where our loves are sleeping, They lost but still were good and true,
Our fathers, brothers fell still fighting, We weep, ‘tis all that we can do.

VERSE 2:
Here we find our noble dead, Their spirits soar’d to him above,
Rest they now about his throne, For God is mercy, God is love.
Then let us pray that we may live, As pure and good as they have been,
That dying we may ask of him, To open the gate and let us in.
CHORUS
Kneel where our loves are sleeping, They lost but still were good and true,
Our fathers, brothers fell still fighting, We weep, ‘tis all that we can do.”

Some believe Waterloo, NY is the birthplace of this day. It was named ‘Memorial Day’ in an official proclamation by one Gen. Logan. Then Waterloo was officially declared the city where it began, by President Lyndon B. Johnson, in 1966.

As for any original thoughts on this day of remembrance, they are mostly swirling in my mind, as I find my emotions cloud my thoughts.

I alternately feel intense pride and pain for the men and women who gave so much, for so many. I can feel pride knowing so many, mostly young, people were willing to give their lives, so others could live in freedom and peace. I feel the pain for knowing those same young people died in service to this wonderful nation, and with their deaths, left so many in sorrow, as well as their hopes and dreams of a long and happy life.

Also, I knew some of the men listed in the ranks of the fallen, one in particular, and feel anger growing within my pain. I sense it in others who have lost brothers and sisters in military service, and can see it in the eyes of those who experienced it. Those who return from war have their personal burdens that they must carry, and often the weight seems crushing. While I have never felt ‘survivor’s guilt,’ I know many who have, and all I can say to them is that they are absolved. They died so we can live and be free, and never, never forget them. Remember them as they were, and honor them fully for what they have given.

For some perspective, here is the tally of those who have fallen in the service of this great nation.

At 3p.m. on Memorial Day, the official National Moment Of Remembrance occurs. Please, return the honor to those who have fallen, as they have honored us with their very lives. Memorial Day is a day for unification in this country, unlike any other.

THE FINAL INSPECTION

The soldier stood and faced God, Which must always come to pass. He hoped his shoes were shining, Just as brightly as his brass.

“Step forward now, you soldier, How shall I deal with you ? Have you always turned the other cheek ? To My Church have you been true?”

The soldier squared his shoulders and said, “No, Lord, I guess I ain’t. Because those of us who carry guns, Can’t always be a saint.

I’ve had to work most Sundays, And at times my talk was tough. And sometimes I’ve been violent, Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny, That wasn’t mine to keep… Though I worked a lot of overtime, When the bills got just too steep.

And I never passed a cry for help, Though at times I shook with fear. And sometimes, God, forgive me, I’ve wept unmanly tears.

I know I don’t deserve a place, Among the people here. They never wanted me around, Except to calm their fears.

If you’ve a place for me here, Lord, It needn’t be so grand. I never expected or had too much, But if you don’t, I’ll understand.

There was a silence all around the throne, Where the saints had often trod. As the soldier waited quietly, For the judgment of his God.

“Step forward now, you soldier, You’ve borne your burdens well. Walk peacefully on Heaven’s streets, You’ve done your time in Hell.”

~Author Unknown~

*Cross-posted at Urban Grounds*

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