By John W. Lillpop
Notwithstanding the fact that contemporary celebrations of Memorial Day have more to do with three-day weekends, back yard barbecues, reckless episodes of alcohol abuse, and other frivolities, the original purpose was to set aside a national spiritual holiday to remember and honor the brave American men and women whom sacrificed their very lives in the service of this blessed nation.
Indeed, in the beginning, it was conceived as a day to memorialize those patriotic American men and women whom made the ultimate sacrifice to defend and preserve the liberties and precious freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution and Bill of Rights.
No one can deny that horse shoes, watermelon, and fried chicken add zest to the celebratory spirit of Memorial Day.
However, in much the same manner as Christmas is not really about glitterytrees, blinking lights, and mistletoe, so it is that the genesis of Memorial Day is really about things spiritual, rather than slothful excuses to overeat, over drink, and otherwise engage in intemperate behavior.
Memorial Day History*
Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his , and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.
The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war).
It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead.
Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.
Did Our Brothers and Sisters Die in Vain?
One cannot help but wonder whether the prices paid by American men and women in years past are justified given the fact that America is currently run by politicians who simply do not respect traditional American values, traditions, the Constitution or laws passed by Congress.
Ponder the following:
Our government is presently involved in three simultaneous scandals which involve:
1. Abandoning American citizens under attack at Benghazi, Libya in which four American diplomats were slaughtered by terrorists. The Obama administration proceeded to lie and cover up the real story behind the attack to protect a corrupt President in the closing weeks of a very close election.
How many American lives were sacrificed so that our government could deliberately leave American diplomats behind to die at the hands of Muslim terrorists and then cover-up the events, based on political expediency?
2. Using the oppressive powers of the IRS to target conservative organizations with the audacity to include the words “patriot” or “Tea” Party in their profiles.
How many of our precious men and women gave their all so that the government could use the IRS to plunder those foolish enough to call themselves “patriots”?
3. Using the Department of Justice to harass, intimidate, and smear members of the media with the audacity to exercise the 1st Amendment right to seek and report truth.
How many Americans were sacrificed to allow Eric Holder and Barack Obama to abuse the Freedom of the Press in persecuting journalists?
All of this makes clear that this Memorial Day the grieving should be for the tragic loss of an entire nation and the liberties and freedoms which that nation embraced, until now.
John W. Lillpop
San Jose, California