I was struggling with what to post this week that would be interesting and topical when I opened Facebook and found my inspiration.
We are all planning our Memorial Day weekend parties and celebrations. Many of us not even giving a second thought to what, or I should say who, we are honoring.
Before the end of the Civil War, southern women began decorating the graves of fallen soldiers and on May 5, 1868, General John Logan issued General Order Number 11, proclaiming Memorial Day on May 30, 1868 – the first time flowers were placed on the graves at Arlington National Cemetery. In 1971, Congress passed the national Holiday Act making Memorial Day a Federal Holiday.
Although Memorial Day was first set-aside to recognize men who had lost their lives in the Civil War, after WWI Americans began honoring men (and women) who lost their lives during any war. Today, we take the opportunity on the last Monday of May to honor all the men and women who serve or have served in our armed forces.
I do not take this holiday lightly. I am the wife of a retired Marine, mother of an Iraq war veteran, and grand-daughter or a WWII Marine veteran. My husband and I have proudly traced our ancestry to men who fought for the right to be called free Americans during the Revolutionary War – Nathaniel Owings, Joshua Owings Sr., Anthony Ribble, Henry Ott, and William Salmon. Other ancestors fought to defend their ideals on one side or the other of the Civil War – John Sawyer, Jonathan Van Horn, Frank T. Driver, August J. Garth, John and his son Elijah Jackson, and Andrew Finch. Horace Roberts, defended our flag in Korea, and we held our breath during the Vietnam Conflict (war) while Dennis Lamont, Roy Roberts, Jimmy Roberts, and Ronnie Mullins defended our American principles.
Monday morning, my husband will stand on a mound beside some of the best men I have had the privilege to know – a group of fsoldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines; Greg Remaly, Harry Rush, Les Jones, and Bob Starks. They will not be taking target practice with a rifle or pistol. They have replaced their weapons with golf clubs – but they have not replaced their Esprit de Corps. They are Marines and I know that, to the last man, they would eagerly wear their uniform in defense of these United States.
From the halls of Montezuma
To the tees in Myrtle Beach
They will fight their certain battles
In the traps and on the greens…
I jest, but it is because of their earlier sacrifices that they have the right and privilege to participate in a leisurely pass-time without fear of hostility. They have earned it. To them I say good luck.
To all the other men and women who wear or have ever worn the uniform of an American soldier, sailor, airman or Marine and to the families who continue to support them, I say Thank You.