During my mother-in-law’s lifetime, she carried flowers to the cemetery at this time of the year. Back in that era, she called it “Decoration Day.” With no car and no knowledge to drive one if one had been available, she arranged for someone to take her to the cemetery—a twenty mile round trip. A short distance by today’s standards, but back then, it wasn’t.
Of course she took blossoms on other occasions, but she expressly wanted to remember on this patriotic occasion the fallen men and women who made the supreme sacrifice for her country.Most historians believe the practice of remembering the soldiers with flowers sprang up around 1865 when liberated slaves decorated graves at a former Confederate prison camp. This site contained a mass grave for Union soldiers who died in captivity.
Before today's date became known as Memorial Day, the 30th of May, 1868 was set aside as Decoration Day. The purpose was to decorate the graves of those who died in defense of our country. These men and women lie buried in every city, village and churchyard in the land.
The alternative name of "Memorial Day" was first used in 1882. The new name became more common after World War II, and Federal law declared it the official name on June 28, 1968.
Many will gather today in backyards for barbeque, beer, margarita's, play games, and swim in pools—for many, it will be a fun and a relaxing time away from work. Grills will smoke with meat and the aroma of hamburgers and brisket will tantalize the taste buds.
Smoke on the battlefields was part of a soldier’s life during every war. The smoke did not arise from a backyard grill and fun times. Men and women fought on foreign shores for our freedom.
Let us pause at this solemn interval to give thanks for those who shaped our freedom in the supreme way.
Fly the flag. Decorate the graves. Pause to give thanks.
I'm a patriot. In many of my books, you'll find men who've served our country. Here's one. Marcy's husband was killed in Afghanistan. Marcy, and her little girl, Hope, are alone in a strange, Texas town. She needs help. Sarah, the haphazard angel, is sent on her first mission. Can she help Marcy?