|To honor our fallen heroes.
It wasn't always Memorial Day — it used to be known as Decoration Day—whatever the name, it's a day of remembrance for all those who have died in the service of the United States of America.
Born of the Civil War, Memorial Day began as a holiday honoring Union soldiers, and some states still have separate Confederate observances. Mississippi celebrates Confederate Memorial Day on the last Monday of April, Alabama on the fourth Monday of April, and Georgia on April 26. North and South Carolina observe it on May 10, Louisiana on June 3 and Tennessee calls that date Confederate Decoration Day. Texas celebrates Confederate Heroes Day on Jan. 19 and Virginia calls the last Monday in May Confederate Memorial Day
The first Decoration Day, the 30th of May, 1868, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular Civil War battle.
The “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution passed in Dec. 2000 asks that at 3 p.m. local time, all Americans “Voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of Remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps.’”
Red poppies are known as a symbol of remembrance, and it's a tradition to wear them on Memorial Day to honor those who died in war.
In 1915, inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” Moina Michael conceived the idea to wear red poppies on Memorial Day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. (cj Sez: When I was little, we called it Poppy Day instead of Decoration Day, and I always had a red, paper poppy to wear.)
The casualties of each U.S. war:
Civil War: Approximately 620,000 Americans died. The Union lost almost 365,000 troops and the Confederacy about 260,000. More than half of these deaths were caused by disease.
World War I: 116,516 Americans died, more than half from disease.
World War II: 405,399 Americans died.
Korean War: 36,574 Americans died.
Vietnam Conflict: 58,220 Americans died. More than 47,000 Americans were killed in action and nearly 11,000 died of other causes.
Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm: 148 U.S. battle deaths and 145 non-battle deaths.
Operation Iraqi Freedom: 4,422 U.S. service members died.
Operation New Dawn: 66 U.S. service members died.
Operation Enduring Freedom: 2,318 U.S. service members have died as of May 12, 2014.
cj Sez: I am in awe of their sacrifice, and it is with profound respect that I humbly say thank you to the families that America's fallen heroes left behind. May God Bless.
DEADLY STAR (Publisher: Crimson Romance)
Composite Photo Credit: Jeff D. Johnston
*Data from multiple on-line sources.