Memorial Day

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Re: Memorial Day

Postby Haggis@wk » Fri May 27, 2011 9:45 am

The History of Memorial Day

Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.
The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

The ceremonies centered around the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington mansion, once the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Various Washington officials, including Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, presided over the ceremonies. After speeches, children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home and members of the GAR made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns.

Local Observances Claim To Be First Local springtime tributes to the Civil War dead already had been held in various places. One of the first occurred in Columbus, Miss., April 25, 1866, when a group of women visited a cemetery to decorate the graves of Confederate soldiers who had fallen in battle at Shiloh. Nearby were the graves of Union soldiers, neglected because they were the enemy. Disturbed at the sight of the bare graves, the women placed some of their flowers on those graves, as well.

Today, cities in the North and the South claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day in 1866. Both Macon and Columbus, Ga., claim the title, as well as Richmond, Va. The village of Boalsburg, Pa., claims it began there two years earlier. A stone in a Carbondale, Ill., cemetery carries the statement that the first Decoration Day ceremony took place there on April 29, 1866. Carbondale was the wartime home of Gen. Logan. Approximately 25 places have been named in connection with the origin of Memorial Day, many of them in the South where most of the war dead were buried.
Official Birthplace Declared

In 1966, Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, N.Y., the “birthplace” of Memorial Day. There, a ceremony on May 5, 1866, honored local veterans who had fought in the Civil War. Businesses closed and residents flew flags at half-staff. Supporters of Waterloo’s claim say earlier observances in other places were either informal, not community-wide or one-time events.
By the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held on May 30 throughout the nation. State legislatures passed proclamations designating the day, and the Army and Navy adopted regulations for proper observance at their facilities.

It was not until after World War I, however, that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress, though it is still often called Decoration Day. It was then also placed on the last Monday in May, as were some other federal holidays.
Some States Have Confederate Observances

Many Southern states also have their own days for honoring the Confederate dead. 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 January 19 and Virginia calls the last Monday in May Confederate Memorial Day.

Gen. Logan’s order for his posts to decorate graves in 1868 “with the choicest flowers of springtime” urged: “We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. ... Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.”

The crowd attending the first Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery was approximately the same size as those that attend today’s observance, about 5,000 people. Then, as now, small American flags were placed on each grave — a tradition followed at many national cemeteries today. In recent years, the custom has grown in many families to decorate the graves of all departed loved ones.

The origins of special services to honor those who die in war can be found in antiquity. The Athenian leader Pericles offered a tribute to the fallen heroes of the Peloponnesian War over 24 centuries ago that could be applied today to the 1.1 million Americans who have died in the nation’s wars: “Not only are they commemorated by columns and inscriptions, but there dwells also an unwritten memorial of them, graven not on stone but in the hearts of men.”

To ensure the sacrifices of America ’s fallen heroes are never forgotten, in December 2000, the U.S. Congress passed and the president signed into law “The National Moment of Remembrance Act,” P.L. 106-579, creating the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance. The commission’s charter is to “encourage the people of the United States to give something back to their country, which provides them so much freedom and opportunity” by encouraging and coordinating commemorations in the United States of Memorial Day and the National Moment of Remembrance.
The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation.

As Moment of Remembrance founder Carmella LaSpada states: “It’s a way we can all help put the memorial back in Memorial Day.”
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Alexis De Tocqueville 1835
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Re: Memorial Day

Postby jamiebk » Fri May 27, 2011 10:20 am

In the years of my youth back in McKeesport, PA, my dad managed a Memorial Park...aka...cemetery. Memorial Day was a big deal around there. Every year we would set up a big flower sale and people with loved ones would come and buy flowers to plant at their gravesites. The cemetery looked so beautiful...geraniums, ageratum, coleus, petunias, vinka vines, ivy. My greatest joy though was going around to every veteran grave and placing an American flag at the headstone in a special holder. It was a lot of work, but it really touched me even as a kid. When I looked back to the "soldier Sections" as we called it, the hundreds of american flags were both beautiful and sobering.
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Re: Memorial Day

Postby Haggis@wk » Fri May 27, 2011 11:37 am

jamiebk wrote:My greatest joy though was going around to every veteran grave and placing an American flag at the headstone in a special holder. It was a lot of work, but it really touched me even as a kid. When I looked back to the "soldier Sections" as we called it, the hundreds of american flags were both beautiful and sobering.



Thank you
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Re: Memorial Day

Postby Shapley » Fri May 27, 2011 3:44 pm

Wishing you all the very best for this Memorial Day weekend! As you enjoy spending time with friends, family, and food, remember to take the time to remember those whose sacrifice has made that possible.
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Re: Memorial Day

Postby Haggis@wk » Tue May 31, 2011 2:24 am

have before, which could be awkward, but overall will probably be a good thing.
AREMINDER FOR MEMORIAL DAY, from Frederick Kempe’s Berlin, 1961.

I want Americans to understand how the decisions of their presidents — then and now — shape world history in ways we don’t always understand at the time of a specific event. I want readers to know that Kennedy could have prevented the Berlin Wall, if he had wished, and that in acquiescing to the border closure he not only created a more dangerous situation — but also contributed to mortgaging the future for tens of millions of Central and Eastern Europeans. The relatively small decisions that U.S. presidents make have huge, often global, consequences.”
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Alexis De Tocqueville 1835
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Re: Memorial Day

Postby Haggis@wk » Tue May 31, 2011 1:09 pm

Once again we have to turn to the British papers to learn that our president played golf on Memorial day. At the time of this post not one U.S. paper carried the story. It's all over the blogosphere though.
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Alexis De Tocqueville 1835
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Re: Memorial Day

Postby Haggis@wk » Fri Jul 01, 2011 6:35 am

jamiebk wrote:Many veterans had a hard time sitting through the first 30 minutes of Saving Private Ryan. I think that movie defined what war really is.



No, the best thing that came from Private Ryan, a movie based on a very slim extrapolation, (i.e. fictionalized) was "Band of Brothers."

The real characters held Hanks et al to the truth, as least as they remembered it. Dick Winters, more than anyone, insisted that the mundane was the normal and the heroic the abnormal.

Soldiering is mostly a boring task.
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Alexis De Tocqueville 1835
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Re: Memorial Day

Postby Shapley » Fri Jul 01, 2011 8:42 am

Jamiebk wrote:I think that movie defined what war really is.


There is an old black-and-white film called "A Walk In The Sun" that did a fair job, for it's time, of showing the realities of war (at least as I understand them): long stretches of waiting, walking, talking, anticipating, punctuated with moments of shear Hell.
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Re: Memorial Day

Postby Haggis@wk » Fri Jul 01, 2011 9:07 am

Shapley wrote: ...punctuated with moments of shear Hell.



I remember, while in Somalia when gunfire broke out, sitting behind a large transformer while young men charged towards "the sound of gunfire" when a USMC Lt. Col. plopped down beside me. We looked at each other and smiled. A bond was established and we knew that a senior NCO and senior officer had establishd that we were too old for this kind of s**t :rofl:
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Alexis De Tocqueville 1835
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Re: Memorial Day

Postby Shapley » Fri Jul 01, 2011 9:51 am

With age comes wisdom!
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Re: Memorial Day

Postby jamiebk » Fri Jul 01, 2011 10:49 am

Haggis@wk wrote:
Shapley wrote: ...punctuated with moments of shear Hell.

establishd that we were too old for this kind of s**t :rofl:


Exactly why they used to draft 18 year olds...
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Re: Memorial Day

Postby Haggis@wk » Sun Jul 03, 2011 8:35 am

AMERICA’S FORGOTTEN Prisoners Of War.
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Alexis De Tocqueville 1835
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Re: Memorial Day

Postby jamiebk » Sun Jul 03, 2011 11:14 am

Glad that someone wrote of that...
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Re: Memorial Day

Postby piqaboo » Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:26 am

dilemma:
cant dont want to shouldnt forget them. Should be doing all to find and release and beat the snot out of those responsible in appropriate military fashion.
shouldnt be making big fuss over here either because that will just encourage taking of more captives (tho if the alternative is killing of more who would otherwise be taken captive, this horn of dilemma would modify)

Sadly, humanly, no one believes "we ignored you for your own good", even when it is true. Hoping for their wwell-being, release, repatriation, and emotional* strength.

*I am such a fruity granola-type from California.
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Re: Memorial Day

Postby Haggis@wk » Wed Sep 07, 2011 4:09 pm

Release No. 09-02-11

Sept. 6, 2011

Air Force pilot missing from Vietnam War identified

WASHINGTON (AFRNS) -- The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced Sept. 1 that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Maj. Thomas E. Reitmann of Red Wing, Minn., will be buried Sept. 8 in Arlington National Cemetery.

In 1965, Reitmann was assigned to the 334th Tactical Fighter Squadron deployed out of Seymour-Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., to Takhli Air Base, Thailand. On Dec 1, 1965, he was flying a strike mission as the No. 3 aircraft in a flight of four F-105D Thunderchiefs as part of Operation Rolling Thunder. His target was a railroad bridge located about 45 nautical miles northeast of Hanoi. As the aircrew approached the target area, they encountered extremely heavy and accurate anti-aircraft artillery. While attempting to acquire his target and release his ordnance, Reitmann received a direct hit and crashed in Lang Son Province, North Vietnam. Other pilots in the flight observed no parachute, and no signals or emergency beepers were heard. Because of the intense enemy fire in the area, a search-and-rescue team was not able to survey the site and a two-day electronic search found no sign of the aircraft or Reitmann.

In 1988, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam repatriated remains to the United States believed to be those of Reitmann. The remains were later identified as those of another American pilot who went missing in the area on the same day as Reitmann.

Between 1991 and 2009, joint U.S.-S.R.V. teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, analyzed numerous leads, interviewed villagers, and attempted to locate the aircraft. Although no evidence of the crash site was found, in 2009 and 2011 a local farmer turned over remains and a metal button he claimed to have found in his corn field.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA - which matched that of his brother -- in the identification of Reitmann's remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 571-422-9059. (Courtesy of DPMO)

"ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, in whose hands are the living and the dead; We give thee thanks for all those thy servants who have laid down their lives in the service of our country. Grant to them thy mercy and the light of thy presence, that the good work which thou hast begun in them may be perfected; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord. Amen."
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Re: Memorial Day

Postby Giant Communist Robot » Wed May 30, 2012 3:42 pm

My daughter went with the Girl Scouts to the windward side Veterans' Cemetery to place American flags and leis on the graves. I went with my son and the Boy Scouts to Punchbowl again. Our section this year had many graves from the Pearl Harbor attack. I saw as many as 150 unidentified individuals buried from the USS Oklahoma. Usually seven to a grave. I like to browse the headstones. As always, I saw the age of those dying in combat is normally about 18 to 25. So young they barely have time to live. Near the entrance there is a polished granite slab with Lincoln's Gettysburg Address incised into it.

We spent about four hours there, mostly waiting for VIPs to arrive or speak. The weather was beautiful, not the typically blistering hot day. I got sunburned anyway. A local dairy provided ice cream and juice for the kids afterwards. When leaving we had to walk down the crater and through a residential area. Our bus was waiting over at a nearby high school.
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Re: Memorial Day

Postby Shapley » Wed Jun 06, 2012 11:23 am

We passec by the Gallipoli monument when sailing into and out of Istanbul. We had no opportunity to visit it, but it is an impressive sight, lighted as it is and visible from far out to see.
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Re: Memorial Day

Postby dai bread » Wed Jun 06, 2012 6:36 pm

From what I read, Gallipoli is as big a deal in Turkey as it is here and in Oz. A visit to Anzac Cove is an obligatory part of Overseas Experience now, and thousands of NZers & Aussies attend ceremonies there every April 25th, the anniversary of the landing in WW1 (1915).

The Turks provide buses, catering and security services. They've built roads and bus parks. It's not surprising really. For one thing, Kemal Ataturk cut his commander's teeth there, and for another, the Turks won.
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Re: Memorial Day

Postby Shapley » Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:39 am

Gallipoli is, indeed, highly regarded amongst the Turks. The nation that is now Turkey was established by one of the generals of the campaign, Mustafa Ataturk.
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Re: Memorial Day

Postby Giant Communist Robot » Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:57 pm

Shapley wrote:Gallipoli is, indeed, highly regarded amongst the Turks. The nation that is now Turkey was established by one of the generals of the campaign, Mustafa Ataturk.


Esat Pasha was the general; Ataturk was a colonel.
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