May 30, 2011

"Memorial Day was a response to the Civil War, and it sits where it does on the calendar for a perfectly good reason."

"It was originally called Decoration Day - a day to honor the (Union) war dead by decorating their graves with flowers, which are most abundant in late May. While we now have annuals that bloom into autumn, they have been introduced into American gardens primarily over the last century; the native perennials bloom mostly in the spring."


Anonymous said...
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AllenS said...

Where are you getting your information about the VA from, politico?

Lynne said...


It's the soldier, not the reporter who has given us
Freedom of the Press.
It's the soldier, not the poet, who has given us
Freedom of Speech.
It's the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the
Freedom to Demonstrate.
It's the soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the
Right to a Fair Trial.
It's the soldier who salutes the flag, serves under the flag and
whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who gives the protestor the right to burn the flag.
~Father Dennis Edward O'Brien, USMC

Hagar said...

Veterans should get treatment for service related injuries, and indeed it appears the US Gov't could do better on that score.

However, as a veteran with no service related inhuries, I do not feel I am entitled feel I am entitled to any benefits beyond the GI Bill as promised, which I did make use of, so I and the country are four square.

The Dude said...
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1775OGG said...

One version of how Memorial Day got started was that a Union general became aware of a Southern tradition of decorating graves of Confederate war dead, and also other Southern war dead, with flowers. That apparently sparked an effort to do the same for Union war dead and the dead from other wars.

I still recall my grandmother referring to that day as Decoration Day up here in the north too.

Somehow, it's fitting that the Civil War became that spark to set a national day for mourning our war dead.

rhhardin said...

Public gatherings pretending to feel sad strike me as ridiculous.

If you joined the military to be honored by the public, you joined for the wrong reason.

It is a day of really bad speeches. I speak as a former high school band member so I've heard them all.

The cookouts are okay.

vet66 said...

Memorial Day reminds us that freedom isn't free. It must never be taken for granted and requires the blood and treasure of patriots to stand against the forces who would take it away from freedom loving people everywhere.

Celebrate! Remember!

AllenS said...


Today, Memorial Day, is a day to honor those who served and are now deceased. It's not much more than that.

AllenS said...

Geez, a former high school band member. Who knew?

The Dude said...
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rhhardin said...


Why not think of it equally every day, if it needs thinking about; and why does it need thinking about in greater or lesser amounts at all?

Why not however much it needs to be thought about.

Let the market decide.

Which, by and large, the public does. They have cookouts.

There's no need for bad speeches that you have to listen to.

rhhardin said...

High school band members sit through a lot of speeches.

You need patriotic music for all sorts of things, and there you are.

dbp said...

I don't really care why people join our military. I am just grateful that sufficient numbers do join.

There were many unpleasant qualities about life in the military. To the extent that we publicly honor and memorialize fallen service members, we encourage others to join.

AllenS said...

Most veterans, rh, do think about it every day. This is a day that has been set aside for a national observance. A day for veterans and nonveterans to reflect on those who sacrificed a part of their lives serving in the armed forces. Some even lost their lives doing so. If you don't want to partake, fine, that's fine with me.

rhhardin said...


What happens when a day is set aside? Do people feel sad?

Who sets aside a day for other people?

Just trying to bring out the root of why it's ridiculous.

I understand interest groups. This differs how?

rhhardin said...

It does matter why you join the military. You'll feel bitter and disappointed otherwise.

We honor the military, spontaneously and without days being set aside and without speeches, because they're called and they go.

Not because they die. Because they go.

The movement of ethics in general is: you're called, and you go.

We honor ethics.

Tying it to dying takes away by confusion exactly the reason for that honor.

And of course every speech gets it wrong.

What you get from joining is honor, your own.

dbp said...

"We honor the military, spontaneously and without days being set aside and without speeches, because they're called and they go."

yeah, some people do but plenty of people never think about the sacrifices others have made.

There will always be a certain number of holidays, they might as well be given worthy themes.

rhhardin said...

I'd suggest Pit Bull day, honoring America's dog.

Might as well do some good.

Belasarion said...

It might have started more than one place. Blandford Church outside of Petersburg, VA has an interpretive sign up claiming to be the origin of Decoration Day as early as 1866 or 67. It makes sense that it would start in the south because that's where most of the battlefields and burials took place. And why not the first spring after the war ended?

edutcher said...

Interesting that people have to be told how it started. It used to be one of the things taught in schools. This is the work of "distinguished educators" like William Ayers.

Memorial Day doesn't have to be spent on one's knees in constant meditation, but a moment of reflection, and appreciation, of those who gave "the last full measure" is something we all owe.

rhhardin said...

There's too many pressing spending issues at the moment, but someday a political run to get holidays that make sense ought to be tried.

These are thought up by Congress.

Anonymous said...

Ann - thank you very much for posting about Memorial Day. I served in the infantry in Vietnam, (Class of '70) but, although I had been born and partly raised in the South, and have now moved back to the South, I have to say that most Southerners - other than transplanted Yankees - don't really observe Memorial Day, I guess because it wasn't until after WWI that Confederate dead were included.
I WAS surprised, however, to see how few Center/Right and Right wing blogs didn't see fit to even mention it.
Thank you.

Christy said...

Took a red, white, and blue headstone wreath to the cemetery Saturday for the family plot. Grandad was in WWI, Dad served during the Korean conflict.

Ralph L said...

Realwest, that's because we had Confederate Memorial Day, the day of which varied by state. NC's was April 26, the day of Johnson's surrender to Sherman near Durham. Other states were earlier, and some used Jefferson Davis' birthday, June 6, IIRC.

Someone put little Stars & Bars (not the battle flag) on the few Conf. veterans buried in our post-war city cemetery. This weekend there are many more Stars & Stripes.

Remember to bring your flag in at dusk if you don't illuminate it.

Sweetbriar said...

Decoration day continues in the south as it always has. Most old church cemeteries have a Sunday in spring (ours is the first Sunday in May) where everyone who has family there sees to it the graves have fresh flowers. People come for a bit of family and community reunion.... and usually a wonderful potluck dinner on the grounds. I'm sure after the War those decoration days were keenly felt and well attended. I don't know how wide spread that habit was in the North prior to the war, but it is a joyful remembrance worth taking up.

rhhardin said...

I don't see how Obama can play golf in this heat.

A couple 2pm scythe passes across the lawn requires much fanning and rehydration, at 91 degrees.

Ralph L said...

I don't see how Obama can play golf in this heat
A staffer said you could grow orchids in the Oval Office, he likes it so warm.

Earl Butz was not available for comment.

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