Today is Memorial Day, a remembrance of people who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
The holiday began with decorating the graves of Civil war victims. According to PBS, “During that first national commemoration, former Union General and sitting Ohio Congressman James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, after which 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers who were buried there. “
After World War I, Memorial Day became an occasion for honoring those who died in all of America’s wars and was then more widely established as a national holiday throughout the United States.
Let us honor those who sacrificed their lives for the principles of democracy: free speech, the balance of power, and an independent electorate.
Sherry: Neither my dad or his father died while serving but they both served, my dad during World War ll and my grandfather in World War I. And of course as a military spouse I honor all of those who have served or are serving. Look at how young they all look!
Jessie: My maternal grandfather fought in WWII and both of his sons served during the Vietnam era. I have thought of them and of all those who have given so much for the rest of us often over the time I have been writing and researching books set just after WWI. The older I get the more I realize what all of them risked and are risking by serving their country.
Edith: My father’s father served in WWI – and lost his only brother to the conflict – and my father was drafted out of college into WWII. This picture shows Daddy in his uniform, probably at around twenty. The Army trained him in Italian but then sent him to a remote outpost in India where he passed along radio communications. They must have realized this scholar wasn’t well suited for the infantry.
Liz: My grandfather had to leave the army because of a knee injury during WWII, but he and my grandmother both volunteered for the war efforts. It meant a lot to him because I know he truly wanted to serve. My mother recently told me that his whole troop was killed during a tour. That really stuck with me. I know that must have affected him for the rest of his life.
Readers: What’s your Memorial Day weekend ritual? Who do you honor?