Decoration Day: A Solemn Day of Remembrance

“Naturally, the common people don’t want war … but after all it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.”  – Hermann Goering-leading member of the Nazi Party


Decoration Day, now Memorial Day is a day of solemn remembrance for those who gave their lives for our country, for all our veterans, and even for our family members who have gone before us.  It is not a weekend of bar-b-ques and the beginning of summer, yet that is what it has become.  As a child, I went with my grandparents to the cemetery with loads of flowers to be planted or put in vases on the graves of our loved ones.  It was a day of remembrance and much planning went into the care and love bestowed on those many graves.

Don’t take that from our true heroes, and now heroines.  This day belongs to them.  Honor them; they deserve it.

The following article was written when Barack Hussein Obama was America’s choice for president.  What I felt then is fitting for today and the illegitimate president who now occupies our White House.  For those new readers, there is history within that is of great importance.

There are only two holidays a year that bring me to tears.  The first is Decoration Day (now Memorial Day) and the second is Independence Day, July 4th.  Last July I wrote an article entitled Real Americans.  I told of the loss and heartbreak I felt when I saw the flags waving and heard the firecrackers.  The loss of what we once had and what we have become is overwhelming.  The same feeling is present with Decoration Day.

Decoration Day started with a commemoration to the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War.  In the south, southern ladies’ groups commemorated the fallen on different days than the holiday of the north.  However, by the 20th century, all American soldiers who had fallen in war were remembered on the last Monday in May, although originally May 30th.  Decoration Day meant placing flowers on the graves of the fallen, but soon became a memorial for all family members who had passed.  Today, those who know the real meaning of the holiday visit the cemeteries not only to decorate the graves of fallen American soldiers, as well as those who served our country, but also to remember our deceased ancestors.

Decoration Day was officially changed to Memorial Day by Federal law in 1967.  On June 28, 1968, the Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill, which moved four holidays, including Memorial Day, from their traditional dates to a specified Monday in order to create a convenient three-day weekend. The change moved Memorial Day from its traditional May 30th date to the last Monday in May. The law took effect at the federal level in 1971.  This has no doubt changed the tenor of a day of remembrance into one of a spring-into-summer three-day weekend holiday, which has caused the solemn honor of the original commemoration to be lost.  Japanese Nisei, Daniel Inouye, Hawaii’s former Senator, and a WWII veteran had tried every year to return the holiday to May 30th.

The Memorial Day flag is to be raised briskly to the top of the pole at dawn and then lowered to half mast until noon.  This is done in remembrance.  At noon, the flag is again raised to the top of the pole for the remainder of the day.

Today, this holiday of commemoration has become one of barbeques, picnics, baseball and swimming.  It no longer is a day of solemn remembrance of our nation’s loss.  When I think of all those who have served, I remember those in my own dear family.

My maternal grandfather served in the Army as a cook in WWI.  His two sons, my mother’s older and younger brothers and my uncles, both served in WWII in Europe and in Germany respectively.  I remember my Uncle Bob telling me about how he hitchhiked across Czechoslovakia to see his cousin, Norm, who was also in the Army.

My paternal grandfather graduated from the Presidio (officer’s training) in 1917 with the Army Cavalry. I still have the humorously written program for his graduation dinner.  His degrees were in international law and French.  He married my grandmother that same year and went off to war.  His older brother was also a soldier in WWI.  In a nine-page typewritten letter my Baptist preacher and physician great-grandfather wrote to his former church in Bozeman, Montana, he mentioned how his wife worried and prayed for her two sons in France.

©Kelleigh Nelson. All rights reserved.

RELATED VIDEO: The Role of a U.S. Soldier – General Tom McInerney

Psalm 144:1 says, “Blessed be the Lord, my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle.” Throughout American history, the role of a soldier was appreciated and honored as a specific calling from God. In fact, He makes it clear in Psalm 144 that He specifically gifts certain individuals to be effective soldiers. Learn more as co-host Mat Staver speaks with Lieutenant General Tom McInerney. Each week on Freedom Alive™, we will alert you to new government overreaches and update you on existing legal battles. We will tell you about the victories people of faith are winning and how you, too, can fight back and get involved to keep your freedom alive!

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