Here in the United States, Memorial Day is one of our most sacred holidays. It is a day we set aside to remember the brave men and women who have fought and died to defend us and our freedom.
The origin of Memorial Day, however, is more complicated:
‘Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women’s groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, “Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping” by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication “To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead” (Source: Duke University’s Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920). While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it’s difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860’s tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, each contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in Gen Logan giving his official proclamation in 1868. It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.’
It is impossible to express our gratitude to the soldiers, and families of those soldiers, who are still with us and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. So in the midst of all of the barbecues and celebrations, please take a moment of silence for those who have gone before us, and made this day possible.
In the meantime, please enjoy this selection of Memorial Day Quotes:
There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right in America.
And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you;
ask what you can do for your country.
-John F. Kennedy
They hover as a cloud of witnesses above this Nation.
-Henry Ward Beecher
Who kept the faith and fought the fight;
The glory theirs, the duty ours.
A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.
The patriot’s blood is the seed of Freedom’s tree.
The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.
– Benjamin Disraeli
For love of country they accepted death…
-James A. Garfield
The greatest glory of a free-born people is to transmit that freedom to their children.
The dead soldier’s silence sings our national anthem.
For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity.
On thy grave the rain shall fall from the eyes of a mighty nation!
-Thomas William Parsons
The brave die never, though they sleep in dust:
Their courage nerves a thousand living men.
-Minot J. Savage
We come, not to mourn our dead soldiers, but to praise them.
-Francis A. Walker
And I’m proud to be an American,
Where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died,
Who gave that right to me.
You are great, and I love you!
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B. Dave Walters
Writer, Life Coach, and Talk Radio Host
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