This post was originally published in 2009, but we thought it still a good way to learn about Memorial Day and share some personal stories. Happy Memorial Day Weekend 2012!
This weekend, more particularly this coming Monday, May 25, 2009, Americans will "celebrate" Memorial Day. I thought today I would spend a few minutes remembering Memorial Day, with some history, honor and humor.
As a youngster I came to know Memorial Day as May 30th, celebrated really as a day to remember those who had given their life in service to our country. It didn't really matter what day of the week May 30th occurred, it was a Federal holiday, a day off from school and it meant we would proudly display the American Flag on our home and we would attend a parade. After all I grew up in a military town, just outside San Diego, CA, and my father was a retired Naval officer. These parades weren't always grand, but they were a nice tradition.
If you would like to learn more about the history of Memorial Day there is a very interesting Library of Congress web page with wonderful information. Two historical items of interest:
1. "In 1971, federal law changed the observance of the holiday to the last Monday in May and extended the honor to all soldiers who died in American wars."
2. "Protocol for flying the American flag on Memorial Day includes raising it quickly to the top of the pole at sunrise, immediately lowering it to half-staff until noon, and displaying it at full staff from noon until sunset."
Additionally, I came across a History Channel presentation of the history of Taps and the playing of Taps for our fallen military. Here is the YouTube video.
U.S.S. Augusta. What I love about this photo is the sheer expression of joy in my father's sparkling eyes and smile. (By the way, the dark mark on his cheek is just a defect in a very old photo.)
Now you are probably wondering how I could ever remember Memorial Day with humor. Well, this story will take you to a day in my life at Cranmore Mountain Lodge, located in Carroll County, Town of Conway, Village of Kearsarge, New Hampshire. The year is 1987. Our country inn was situated on plus or minus seven acres and our property line went up a hill to abut the property line of the Kearsarge Cemetery. This cemetery is very, very old and it is the type of cemetery that people will often visit to do headstone rubbings.
As you celebrate Memorial Day take time out of your weekend to remember those who gave their lives for our country. And let me know how you remember Memorial Day.
P.S. I do not know the names of the other two young men in the photo with my father. Should anyone out there in the world wide web recognize them, please let me know.