Memorial Day

It's Memorial Day - we honor the men and women who died in service for their country and those who lived to tell about their service and are living with us or have already passed on.

It's a good day to remember the living members of the military and their families who sacrifice much for the freedoms we enjoy.

I hope you find time today to join a ceremony recognizing this day.

When we lived in north Wisconsin, in Augusta, Memorial Day became one we (and the whole town, it seemed) gathered to honor those who served.

There was a parade through town with members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, and American Legion Auxiliary.  The high school band would play.  Boy and girl scouts would march in their honor.  The parade always took a detour off the main drag, Lincoln Street, to pass by the Augusta Nursing Home.  It was there many veterans and their widows lived and they would proudly watch the parade and stand, hand over heart as the flag passed.

In the city cemetery, a student would recite the Gettysburg Address, a speaker would talk, the roll would be called, and Taps played in echo by high school trumpets.

The year that remains most vivid in my memory was the year of a crystal blue sky.  As the Battle Hymn of the Republic was sung, a Bald Eagle soared overhead.  It was a beautiful moment and a wonderful, but simple way to honor those who served and serve today.

If you missed the ceremony near you take a drive to the cemetery and find service member graves and spend a moment in quiet respect.  You will be glad you did.

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

When we lived in South Dakota, the state still observed Memorial Day on the 30th of May and didn't follow the three-day weekend expedience of our nation Memorial Day service.  There was something about the prairie stubbornness I could appreciate.  Especially in this case - putting the honor in front of holiday fun.

Have fun today, but don't forget to say thanks.