May 26, 2014

What is Memorial Day all about?

I was a little sad to learn that we would be out of town and I couldn't put my flag out.  Then I realized that I didn't know why I put my flag out.  That's just what you do.  Right?  

I feel slightly ashamed I had to google this. I mean, it's Memorial Day.  I  am very proud of my flag, I like being an American.  

I actually asked around why we have Memorial Day, was it a government holiday?  Was it the day to remember the dead? Why do we have it?  No one really knew exactly why.  

For the husbands family it's quite the occasion, they take the trimmers, gloves, and flowers and clean up all the family graves. Family actually travels to get to the gravesides. 

My family would go to the graves, if we were in town and go place the mums and water all the flowers.  Some of the family members are quite faithful about visiting.  There is even section of the cemetary where they used to bury only the Japanese.  It's quite a site to see. 

(Photo stolen from my sister)

But again, I never really thought about why, it's just what we did.  According to Wikipedia, I've found that it is federal holiday, honoring the American men and women who died during battle. American flags are placed on the graves.  (Not to be confused with Veterans Day, which is honoring all veterans.) Apparently, you can volunteer to place flags on some of the bigger cemeteries.  

But I didn't stop reading there.  There are many sections of information.  It talks about how it's a big BBQ weekend for people, camping, a day to mark the beginning of summer. 

No one really knows when the first I Memorial Day happened, buts it's a long tradition from the early 1900s. 

I noticed that my dad posted this poem, "In Flanders Field," which, I didn't know why either.  I found it again while reading on Wikipedia about Memorial Day.  It's a lovely poem.  

"In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields."

So, while you celebrate with BBQ sauce and jello, just take a moment to remember.  Remember those who have died while fighting for us, remember to put your flag out, remember your loved ones and remember Flanders fields. 

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