“Our nation owes a debt to its fallen heroes that we can never fully repay, but we can honor their sacrifice.”

Memorial Day is a day for thanks and a day for reflection. I hope you remember those to whom we owe so much. This is my annual tribute

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women’s groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, “Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping” by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication “To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead.” 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. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860′s tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, each contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in Gen Logan giving his official proclamation in 1868. It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.

Memorial Day

“Dulce et decorum est”

The bugle echoes shrill and sweet,
But not of war it sings to-day.
The road is rhythmic with the feet
Of men-at-arms who come to pray.

The roses blossom white and red
On tombs where weary soldiers lie;
Flags wave above the honored dead
And martial music cleaves the sky.

Above their wreath-strewn graves we kneel,
They kept the faith and fought the fight.
Through flying lead and crimson steel
They plunged for Freedom and the Right.

May we, their grateful children, learn
Their strength, who lie beneath this sod,
Who went through fire and death to earn
At last the accolade of God.

In shining rank on rank arrayed
They march, the legions of the Lord;
He is their Captain unafraid,
The Prince of Peace . . . Who brought a sword.

Joyce Kilmer

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15 Comments on ““Our nation owes a debt to its fallen heroes that we can never fully repay, but we can honor their sacrifice.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    We don’t have anything like it over here, too long since we’ve been to war here.

    Have a nice Memorial Day!

    Christer.

    • flyboybob Says:

      What about WWII?

      • olof1 Says:

        Nope, Sweden was neutral. Instead we helped both sides, not our proudest period of our history.

      • katry Says:

        I know Sweden took in Denmark’s Jews and saved thousands, but the country also sold iron ore to Germany. There are more instances of Sweden working both sides.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      I consider you lucky that you don’t have the war dead to honor. We have far too many starting at the Civil War as the dead on both sides were American.

      It was rainy all day-no parades!

  2. flyboybob Says:

    According to General George S. Patton, “The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.” There is nothing glorious nor noble about warfare, it’s just death, suffering and pain. Unfortunately, our civilian leaders have sent our military into battle since the end of WWII for reasons that I don’t understand. Regardless of my opinion of the validity of those wars we must all remember and honor the memory of those who served and died in battle for what ever reason our government sent them overseas.

    I find it interesting that in WWI a soldier could return after suffering ‘shell shock’. In WWII it became ‘battle fatigue’. Since the Viet Nam War we have called it ‘PTSD’. Our language along with our government has softened the terms used to describe the horrible mental and physical effects many of our finest soldiers, sailors, marines and airman suffer. Sometimes the physiological trauma may be worse than the physical trauma.

    We are having another clear warm day for the unofficial start of summer.

    • flyboybob Says:

      Ops, I ment psychological trauma.

      It’s also interesting that giving the press, especially TV, access to the fighting in Viet Nam helped to change public opinion to end that conflict. Every evening on the national news the public had the war brought to them on the TV. The Government has learned their lesson and doesn’t give the press the same kind of access any longer. We get their propaganda releases.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      I agree we always need to honor our war dead. My friend lost her brother in Vietnam and none of us understand the reasons for that war. My father knew his war, WWII, had a clear reason to fight. He never questioned the US and any war, declared or undeclared.

      The taint was there for any soldier with battle fatigue. Many were hospitalized and then sent back to the front. Now it is, as you mentioned, a recognized illness. Watching your friends blown to bits or seeing your leg blown off is cause for psychological trauma.

      Rain all day!

      • katry Says:

        Bob,
        I agree that watching the war in our living rooms made a difference. Death was there in front of us. We saw American dead, and that influenced the generation to protests which got larger and larger.

  3. Hedley Says:

    Mountbatten and Churchill knew of their existence. There were 80 of them. They were designated X Troop, or the X Commando. Tarantino made Inglourious basterds, which in all it’s flimsy film making understated the bravery of these men

    He fought as Eric Howarth, that wasn’t his real name of course. He was a boy from Ulm Germany. Family legend had him parachuting in on D Day but we recently discovered papers and found that to be untrue. Major Howarth was allocated to the 4 Commando on D Day and was on the first boats at 7:15 am on Sword Beach. A refugee kid from Germany hit the beach, headed for Ouistreham and was seriously wounded. After recovery he fought again in The Bulge giving up his life at the age of 22 in Holland. It was April 1945 – so close.

    X Troop remain a footnote, barely remembered or even known. It is an issue for me.

    Later this year there will be a stolpersteine in Ulm for Erich, his parents and sister. Perhaps my road will take me back to Ulm one last time, perhaps not.


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