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May 25, 2002

Memorial Day

This Monday is Memorial Day in the United States. For some, it's another day off that merely marks the start of the summer season. But this holiday has a tradition that stretches back to its roots as "Decoration Day" on May 30, 1868. General John Loganís General Order No. 11 which designated the day for the purpose of decorating the graves of the nationís Civil War dead first created the tradition, consolidating a number of earlier local observances. In 1971, Congress declared the present Memorial Day (the last Monday in May) a national holiday.

Whereas Veterans Day honors all veterans (on November 11), Memorial Day honors those who have made the ultimate sacrifice during our conflicts and wars. There are a number of ways to put the "Memorial" back in Memorial Day including a National Moment of Remembrance which urges "Americans everywhere, to pause for one minute at 3:00 p.m. (local time) on Memorial Day, to remember and reflect on the sacrifices made by so many to provide freedom for all."

It is also a time to honor and remember the POW-MIAs whose fate is still unknown. They answered the call and still have not returned.

Memorial Day observances include the traditional "Flags In" Ceremony conducted by the 3rd US Infantry. Small flags are placed in front of each service member's marker at Arlington National Cemetery and the US Soldier's and Airmen's Home National Cemetery. The Tomb Sentinels place the flags at the Tomb of the Unknowns where there will be a presidential wreath-laying ceremony on Monday.

Little known and often ignored are the many women who also fought and died in our wars. A ceremony with remarks by serving military women begins Monday at 5 at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial, on Memorial Drive at the gateway to Arlington National Cemetery.

In remembrance of ALL who have given their all - thank you for our freedom. It is now up to us to continue to defend that freedom today and for all time.

Posted by BlueWolf on May 25, 2002 01:13 PM