What we Americans of this generation observe as “Memorial Day” was originally known as “Decoration Day.” Graves of soldiers who had given their lives in the Civil War were decorated with flowers to remember and honor their sacrifice. Later, the observance was renamed “Memorial Day,” to commemorate the sacrifice all who died in all the wars.
Originally, Memorial Day was observed on May 30 of each year. It was intended as a day of solemn remembrance of those Americans who gave their lives, so that Americans of all generations might be free.
The greatest numbers of Americans called on to go to war to defend freedom was that generation whose childhood was of the Great Depression, and whose young adulthood was of World War II. More than 16-million Americans served in WWII. That generation came to be known as the “Greatest Generation.”
Memorial Day as observed by the Greatest Generation in the 40’s, 50’s, and until the late 60’s, was observed on the traditional date of May 30. Millions of veterans decorated graves with Flags and flowers in all 125 National Veterans Cemeteries and tens of thousands of municipal and private cemeteries across the nation. Those who gave their lives for freedom were remembered in an attitude of gratitude.
Much of that changed when the Greatest Generation was succeeded by the generation of the politically and culturally ultra-liberal/progressive 1960’s, often now referred to as the “Hippy Generation,” or “Flower Generation,” or more aptly the “Destructive Generation.” It was the generation of explosive growth of Liberal Progressive big government commencing with President Jack Kennedy and infinitely expanded under President Lyndon B. Johnson in what he called his “Great Society” (sic).
Memorial Day at what was the height of big government, at least until current President Barack Hussein Obama ascended to the presidency, was no longer celebrated on May 30. Instead, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act (Publ. L. 90-363) was adopted in 1968, providing Memorial Day would be observed on the third Monday of May.
This was not done to more firmly educate and impress on Americans the meaning of Memorial Day. Rather, it was done by big government in order to provide three-day holidays for the ever expanding number of federal government employees. Government employees in government unions in the states, counties, and cities, quickly followed suit, all receiving convenient three-day weekend holidays.
With the change to convenient three-day weekend Memorial Day holidays for government employees rather than the day actually intended, so inconvenient for government employed “public servants” (sic), the meaning of Memorial Day also seemed to shift. Rather than being a day set aside for remembering the service and sacrifice of those who gave their lives in war to defend American freedom, Memorial Day began to be remembered as the beginning-of-summer holiday, a happy time to remember to buy and consume food and beverages and to make merry at the beach or elsewhere, free of such oppressive burdens as remembering those who purchased by their blood the freedom of Americans of this day.
Thus, on Memorial Day 2012, while most of the 23-million living American veterans, and millions of other patriots, will hold ceremonies and observances honoring America’s war time, the much greater number of millions of Americans will observe the day in disregard for the meaning of Memorial Day, opting for personal entertainment rather than remembrance of the sacrifice of veterans for freedom (“What a downer!”).
Others, beneficiaries of the liberal/progressive government education establishment, may not be selfishly disregarding the meaning of Memorial Day: They may actually be ignorant of what Memorial Day is really all about, and why it has meaning in sustaining the American culture, and American freedom.
Perhaps the creation such attitudes of cavalier disregard of the meaning of Memorial Day, or ignorance of it, by the liberal/progressive government school education establishment and all the oppressed liberal/progressive members of the government school teachers’ unions through brainwashing the young into liberal/progressive multi-cultural mutants denied knowledge of their own American heritage or taught to despise it as “racist,” “imperialist,” “greedy capitalist,” etc., etc, is best exemplified on Memorial Day 2012 by the sign in front of Hockinson High School.
Hockinson High School’s sign, as a witness thereto informed the Victoria Taft Show, advises the students: “No School Monday 28, May.”
That’s all: “No school.” Why “no school”? Well, it doesn’t say. It’s just another day off, kids—no reason for good liberal/ progressive government teachers and education bureaucrats to bother you with knowledge of why it is a day off by writing “Memorial Day,” let alone teaching you what Memorial Day is really about. Or why you are free.
As politically incorrect as it may be, I must respectfully suggest that on Memorial Day 2012, it is time to put away the hotdogs, hamburgers, and beer, and put away all the mind-numbing cant of liberal/progressive government teachers and bureaucrats dispensing intellectual dross, and remember the price of our American freedom -- and the almost 1.4-million American veterans who paid that price, for us, with their lives.
May God bless and keep and each and every one of them. And may Americans never cease to remember them, and their sacrifice, for our freedom.
[Rees Lloyd is a career-long civil rights attorney; a veteran; a patriot; and a member of the Victoria Taft Blogforce.]
MEMORIAL DAY 2012 —REMEMBERING THOSE WHO DIED THAT WE MIGHT BE FREE:American Wars Killed In ActionRevolutionary War.............. 25, 324War of 1812.......................... 2,260Mexican American War….. 13,283Civil War………………….. 650,000Spanish American War....... 7,166World War I......................... 116,708World War II....................... 408,306Korean War......................... 54,246Vietnam War....................... 58,223Persian Gulf War................. 363(Desert Storm)Operation Iraqi Freedom... 4,421Op. Enduring Freedom….. 1,972(Afghanistan)All Other Conflicts sincethe Revolutionary War…… 8, 330Islamist jihadist terrorism... 3,336(9-11-2001Operation New Dawn (66)TOTAL: ………….1,354,003 [plus 88,000 MIA]
THE SOLDIERIt is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.It is the soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to fair trial.It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves under the flag, andwhose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.(Poem by Father Dennis Edward O’Brien)