Friday, May 27, 2016

Memorial Day

This morning the family went to see my granddaughter's school put on a little show to commemorate Memorial Day.  We walked there since the school isn't far from our house.  On the way, hubby, the history teacher, gave us a history lesson on the origins of Memorial Day.

Of course, throughout history mankind has always felt the need to honor those who have defended their country.  Probably every country has something.  Back in the day, when hubby and I were young our elementary classes had commemorations on flag day--June 14.  Memorial Day was once known as Decoration Day and it was whatever day May 31 fell.

There were holidays for each war, i.e., Armistice Day for World War I.  I guess I'm sorry to say that we have so many wars and military encounters that to honor them all would be too many.  Hence, the one Memorial Day to honor all veterans.

Here is one of America's favorite poets, Henry Wardsworth Longfellow, memorializing the veterans of the Civil War, but it is apropos to all wars.

Decoration Day

Sleep, comrades, sleep and rest
On this Field of the Grounded Arms,
Where foes no more molest,
Nor sentry's shot alarms!

Ye have slept on the ground before,
And started to your feet
At the cannon's sudden roar,
Or the drum's redoubling beat.

But in this camp of Death
No sound your slumber breaks;
Here is no fevered breath,
No wound that bleeds and aches.

All is repose and peace,
Untrampled lies the sod;
The shouts of battle cease,
It is the Truce of God!

Rest, comrades, rest and sleep!
The thoughts of men shall be
As sentinels to keep
Your rest from danger free.

Your silent tents of green
We deck with fragrant flowers
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours.

                              -- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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