Memorial Day and the Civil War

 

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Memorial Day is nearly here.  It is the last Monday in May and has generally been the day when we remember the men and women who died while serving in the U. S. Armed Forces.

Did you know  ???  This day originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War.  It was originally known as Decoration Day and by the 20th century, Memorial Day expanded to honor all Americans who died while in the military service.

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Memorial Day tradition calls for raising the flag of the United States to the top of the staff then slowly lower it to half-staff.  The flag remains at half-staff until noon then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day.  The half-staff position is a reminder of the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service to the country.  At noon the living raise the flag and resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain.  The living determine to continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.

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Today, many attend Memorial Day parades and events where military and patriotic themes are common.  The day has expanded to remember all who have come before us.  Flags mark the graves of veterans and other family graves are decorated with flowers.

In some ways Memorial Day is a version of Thanksgiving Day.  The “Thank You” is directed to those who have sacrificed so we have the country and the freedoms that we enjoy today. 

Clearly, our country is not perfect.  We have flaws and our society has flaws.  But, saying “Thank You” to those who have sacrificed for us is a good thing.  And working to secure justice and liberty for all is good.

That is what Memorial Day is all about.

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