Sunday, May 28, 2006

Memorial Day

Mostly Sunny - Hi 110 Lo 81 for Baghdad, Iraq
Sunny & Hazy - Hi 90 Lo 68 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: Arlington,
Trace Adkins This is an encore--- it is the only song that makes sense this week. As I wrote last time... if you hate country music... ok... fine... just listen to the words...

I received an email asking me why I list the temperature in Baghdad and here in my hometown each week... I'm glad you asked because I don't think I have ever explained it...Every week, I go to I look up the forecast for Baghdad each week. It is my way of reminding myself that there are men in uniform and body armor in ungodly temperatures doing a job they volunteered to do on my behalf... So, while I am sipping my delightful cup of java... these guys are working their tails off and hoping to not get them shot off... that's why...


This is Memorial Day Weekend- my first thought is--- EXTRA DAY OFF FROM WORK!!! Wahoo!!! However, this is my reminder to myself there is a reason besides having cold beer at dysfunctional family picnics behind the meaning of this day.

As a kid, my grandparents would drag my brother and me to the cemetery to decorate the gravesite of my Aunt Cathy. She was five years old when she died from Leukemia. There are bunches and bunches of pictures of Decoration Day of years gone by. Pictures of my dad and uncle looking uncomfortable...and sad... Pretty much the way my brother and I look in the pictures I have... definitely uncomfortable and definitely sad. As kids, we were quiet and solemn... seeing my grandfather weep openly is what made me sad, so Terry and I always stayed quiet.

I remember learning about the meaning of Memorial Day from my grandmother. She is one of the smartest people I have known in my life. She was and still is a big history buff. I wish I had paid more attention as a kid- the things I would know today...

Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day because it was a time set aside to honor the nation's Civil War dead by decorating their graves. It was first widely observed on May 30, 1868, to commemorate the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers, by proclamation of General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of former sailors and soldiers. On May 5, 1868, Logan declared in General Order No. 11 that:

The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

During the first celebration of Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, after which 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried in the cemetery.

This 1868 celebration was inspired by local observances of the day in several towns throughout America that had taken place in the three years since the Civil War. In fact, several Northern and Southern cities claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, including Columbus, Miss.; Macon, Ga.; Richmond, Va.; Boalsburg, Pa.; and Carbondale, Ill.

Courtesy of The History Channel

Brave men and women continue to go to battle and serve our country. These brave souls keep our country free...They are willing to go into harms way so that we may live our lives... I am humbled in the presence of so many of these fine men and women... I grieve that so many wives have lost their husbands, that so many children will not be kissed by their fathers, that so many mothers and fathers will never be able to see their sons again... and because I do not have the ability to find the words, I'd like to reference someone that could...

It is only appropriate that I end Sunday's post with the words of one of our greatest Americans, our 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. The words are just as meaningful today as they were November 1863.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

I hope you and yours have a safe and happy holiday and somewhere in the mix, raise a glass to toast our fallen. I ask that you bow your head and give thought and prayer to our men and women that served our great nation.

Now Michael and I are off to spend time with Rob and Jo... we'll see you in a bit.

Blogs and Links to Check Out This Week:

Honor the Fallen

Patriot Guard Riders - Many of the riders in this group are vets... some are just citizens that want to make sure that our fallen are honored... If you have not gone to their website yet, I urge you to do so... there are chapters all over the country.... all volunteer...

God Bless America posts A Father's Letter.

Go spend some time over at Andi's World, Hell on Heels. As a milblogger, she does a lot of great work- I don't visit her nearly enough.

Leaning Straight Up "I align as a social moderate and a fiscal conservative, and the closest party affiliation I have is Neo Libertarian." I just found Karl's blog... a strong patriot... no doubt about it... but I can see that we will disagree in some areas... but I am guaranteed thought provoking reading when I visit his part of the blogosphere...

Politics of a Patriot This young lady has just graduated high school and is off to to boot camp-- she will be one of the few... one of the proud... I have read her blog for quite some time and even though I don't know this young lady, I am so very proud of her. She is our future and I thank God for her. Stop by and wish her well.

I joined 2 groups yesterday... Blogging Chicks and the Hillbilly Ecosystem... both look like a fun group of folks...

Arlington Cemetary photograph courtesy of Colonel Tolomeo

Have a great week everyone!

Blue Angels Missing Man Formation

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