Fun Facts About Memorial Day

Bruce Tuten

Photo Credit: Bruce Tuten via CC Flickr

Memorial day, here in America, is a solemn and somber day in America in which people from around the country can stop, remember, and thank the men and women who have fought and have given parts of their lives for our freedom.

It was once said that Freedom is a lot like oxygen: when you have it, nobody notices it…but go without it, and, wow, do you wish you had it!! It is SO true!

Even though I have celebrated Memorial Day every year since I was a kid, I was wondering the other day…what is the truth and facts behind this hallowed day? In today’s blog, I decided to find out and then, let you know by sharing my findings with you!

Enjoy!

  • Memorial Day originally started during the Civil War.
  • Approximately 750,000 Americans died in the Civil War which made it the deadliest war in American history (just for the record, there were more deaths in the Civil War than all of the other wars combined).
  • Memorial Day used to be known as Decoration Day and was meant to honor both the Union and Confederate men who lost their lives during the Civil War. By the 1900’s it became a day to celebrate and remember all of the soldiers who died in the military.
  • One of the earliest ceremonies honoring the fallen was organized by freed slaves!
  • Memorial Day actually didn’t become an official federal holiday until 1971.
  • In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson named Waterloo, New York, as the official birthplace of Memorial Day.
  • According to custom, the American flag is to fly at half staff until noon, and then raise it to full staff until sunset.
  • In 1915, a Georgian school teacher named, Moina Michael, began a movement to make the Red Poppy the national symbol of tribute to veterans and for “keeping the faith with all who died.” The idea of wearing Red Poppies originated from a poem written in 1915, by John McCrae, “In Flanders Field.”
  • It is common for volunteers to place American flags on the graves in the national cemeteries.
  • It has been estimated that 30-35 million people travel by car over the Memorial Day Weekend.

 

 

Putting Up the Flag

Photo Credit: DWilliams via Pixabay

Photo Credit: DWilliams via Pixabay

Today is September 11…and throughout America, there are hundreds of ceremonies and numerous “Moments of Silences” for people across our nation to reflect upon the happenings of that tragic day over a decade ago.

It is still as fresh in my memory, as if it happened yesterday, exactly what I was doing at the time the first plane hit the tower. I remember teaching my Physical Education class out on the field when the assistant Head Master of my school came out and told me what had happened. The rest of the day and the weeks to come seemed so surreal. Seeing the towers fall, the people running, the great plumes of smoke, people covered with ashes, dirt and ash, rumors of the Pentagon, the Capital Building and the White House getting hit and the chaos that ensued…it was a crazy time!

The thing that I also remember vividly, was how the country came together as one. American flags flew all across the land. it became virtually impossible to even buy a flag because they were all sold out. People flew them from their homes, businesses, cars, and even from the back of pick-up trucks! There was even a night that people were asked to light a torch or a candle and place it on their lawns or windows to show their love and support for the policemen, firefighters, and rescue people. Patriotism for our country had never been so strong…and sadly, nor has it been since then.

Here’s the thing, the thing that I am most proud of…our flag and what it is a symbol for. It represents our freedom…freedom to worship where and when we want…freedom to go anywhere as we please…freedom to vote for people that we want in office…freedom to go to and from anywhere that we wish…and so much more. It represents the hundreds of thousands of men and women who sacrificed their lives for this country so that we could enjoy the freedoms that we have.

Today’s short video clip and a nice  little reflection on our flag and some of the things that it should remind us of.

The American flag…a beautiful thing.

Freedom Comes With A Price

Photo Credit: Wonderlane via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Wonderlane via CC Flickr

Freedom. There is nothing that is more valued and treasured by an individual. It is that one word that has made millions and millions of people to decide to come to America to live…free to worship, speak, travel, salute the flag, and many, many other wonderful things but freedom is NEVER free! Down through the ages, a great many number of people have sacrificed their lives, their lifestyles, the security of their families and friends…all for the right to enjoy the fruits of Freedom.

We all know about the Declaration of Independence which was created and signed over 200 years ago but what isn’t well known by many people, is the sacrifice and cost that many of the men who signed the declaration suffered.

Kenneth L. Dodge, in his book, Resource, wrote: “Fifty-six men signed the Declaration of Independence. Their conviction resulted in untold sufferings for themselves and their families. Of the 56 men, five were captured by the British and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the Revolutionary Army. Another had two sons captured. Nine of the fifty-six fought and died from wounds or hardships of the war. Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships sunk by the British navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts and died in poverty.

At the battle of Yorktown, the British General Cornwallis had taken over Thomas Nelson’s home for his headquarters. Nelson quietly ordered General George Washington to open fire on the Nelson home. The home was destroyed and Nelson died bankrupt. John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their thirteen children fled for their lives. His fields and mill were destroyed. For over a year, he lived in forest and caves, returning home only to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later, he died from exhaustion.”

We should all take the time each day to be thankful for the freedom and everything that we have because of the sacrifice of others.

Freedom is a great thing…but so is Sacrifice.