Tag Archives: remembering

A Little History About Memorial Day, Previously Called, “Decoration Day”

 

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Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America. Over two dozen cities and towns claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it’s difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day.

Regardless of the exact date or location of its origins, one thing is clear – Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War and a desire to honor our dead. It 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. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.

On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.

The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war).

It is now observed in almost every state on the last Monday in May with Congressional passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363). This helped ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays, though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19th in Texas; April 26th in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10th in South Carolina; and June 3rd (Jefferson Davis’ birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.

[ Header image from http://www.freewebheaders.com ]

[Memorial Day image from bingdotcom]

 

December Represents Mixed Emotions

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December has different meanings for different people.  Excitement, happiness, celebration, life expectations, new beginnings, and end of a life (lives) as we knew it.

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What does the month of December represent to me?

Going back to the year 1958, December was great cause for celebration, life expectations, and a new beginning.  I married my first husband, Danny – my best friend, the father of my children.  My soul mate.  Yes, it is real.  There really is such a thing.

December means the birth of my son.  I was totally prepared for his arrival, and was joyous at his birth.

December means the month in which my now deceased granddaughter was born.

December means celebration of Hanukkah.  A time to be close to family and light the Menorah and remember the discovery of one day’s oil in the biblical temple which, miraculously, lasted eight days, to keep the temple’s light burning until more oil was found.

December means the loss of my soul mate.  It was expected, after many months’ illness, but when it happened, I had to cope with the great emptiness that his death left after 34 years of deep love.

December means the discovery of a new love, and a decision to devote myself to another.  It was a very good decision.  Bob was a special guy and very devoted to me, and I was happy with him.  We had a loving relationship and there was respect for one another.

December means the loss of my Bob after more than a year’s illness.  We were married for 18 1/2 years, and they were very good years.  They went very fast.

December is a time for remembering:  Taking stock of the past and looking forward to another year of whatever life brings.  It brings surprises – the unexpected; that’s for sure.

What does December mean to you?

Togetherness: Special On This Day

Thanksgiving Day is one filled with many emotions by many people and families.  I start to think back (for me, there are many days and years to think back on), remembering those happy days.  Trying hard to pick out one or two, is not easy.  There are so many.

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One Thanksgiving Day, I remember, while living in Hicksville LI, NY (there really is a town by that name), we gathered ’round the big pine trestle-style table, held hands, and said a prayer of thanks for having the fortune of being there together that day, and hoping for more happy days of togetherness in the future.

Another Thanksgiving Day I can remember was celebrated right here in South Florida, in my new home that I shared with my late husband, Bob.  Bob did all the cooking.  He was a good cook, and got so much enjoyment when we all found his efforts to be greatly pleasing to the palette (and also to the stomach!).

Today, that trestle table is long gone; several of the people with whom I held hands in Hicksville have passed; and some of those with whom I shared the Thanksgiving meal in South Florida, are not with us anymore, having gone to a better place, also.  But, not all is lost:  I am going to be together with my sister and brother-in-law in their home and we will share a lovely dinner; but, most important, we will be together.

Eddi Reader’s “My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose”

Sweetness and softness and remembering.  This is a most lovely song.

Especially to my loves who are physically lost to me.  We will meet again, but in the meantime, know that you are all in my heart today and always.