|All sacrificed some; some sacrificed all.|
Many people confuse Veterans Day and Memorial Day and think of the two days as being interchangeably one and the same, but there is a difference between them. Do you know what it is?
Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL those who served honorably in the military—in wartime or peacetime. In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all who served—not only those who died—have sacrificed.
Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring those who died in the service of their country, particularly the military personnel who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. In England, it’s known as Remembrance Day.
It wasn't always called Memorial Day…it was once known as Decoration Day. Then the name changed again and became Poppy Day. When I was little, we bought and wore little red, paper poppy flowers as a remembrance. I believe the flowers were made by disabled Vets back then. Whatever the name, it's a day to remember and honor all those heroic men and women who have died in service of the United States of America.
Inspired by the rondeau poem “In Flanders Fields” (penned by Canadian physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae while still at a World War I battlefront), Moina Michael, a University of Georgia professor, came up with this simple idea: Sell poppy flowers to raise money on behalf of soldiers killed and injured in World War I--the red of the petals representing the blood of heroes shed on those fields of war. Michael was the first to wear one, and she sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need.
In my original Lyrical Pens post a few years ago, Janie Delchamps Zetsch of Dauphin Island, AL, a veteran and member of AL Post 250, shared insights on how to honor our fallen heroes. Janie told me then that what follows here had been a Facebook repost and gave me permission to use the words. Please take a minute to read it all the way through. It says everything.
“Just a reminder of
what we celebrate next weekend. I am but one of millions of proud veterans,
however it is not about us. It is to honor those that made the ultimate
sacrifice during battle, and to honor those that served and have now gone onto
their eternal rest. The following, pointed, reminders are provided for your
use, knowledge and perhaps to teach a child what we celebrate and honor on
Here's some ground
1. Don't wish me a Happy Memorial Day. There is nothing happy about brave men and women dying.
2. It's not a holiday. It's a remembrance.
3. If you want to know the true meaning, visit Arlington or your local VA, not Disneyland.
4. Don't tell me how great any one political power is. Tell me about Chesty Puller, George Patton, John Basilone, Dakota Meyer, Kyle Carpenter, Mitchell Paige, Ira Hayes, Chris Kyle and any other heroes too numerous to name. Attend a Bell Ceremony and shed some tears.
5. Don't tell me I don't know what I am talking about. I have carried the burden all too many times for my warriors who now stand their post for God.
6. Say a prayer... and then another.
7. Remember the Fallen for all the Good they did while they were here.
8. Reach out and let a Vet know you're there, we're losing too many in “peace”. God Bless those who fought and died and served this nation for our freedom.”