Memorial Monday

It was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, and was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May.

Though it has become a holiday, often defined by barbecues, drinking games and beach trips, etc; it's meant to be a day of reflection. No matter your stance on war, we should all remember with gratitude the men and women whose lives and deaths were given in the name of our country (which made it possible for those same barbecues, drinking games and beach trips.) Those men and women believed that they were fighting for freedom and serving their country, and for that alone, they deserve high honor.

Yesterday my pastor, an avid fan of estate sales, read from a group of unopened letters he found recently. Dated June 9th 1972, a mother writes to her son about commonplace things, like family doings, the state of their garden, etc. Peppered throughout her letter are gentle reminders of her belief that God is watching and caring for her son, She admonishes him to remember prayer, and ends the letter with love from all, including The Almighty's. There were two other envelopes, and a telegram dated June 8. You can guess, I imagine, the contents of that telegram. The entire congregation was sniffling at the end of the sermon. I believe that God was indeed with that woman's beloved son.

It is important to know two things about Memorial Day. It is indeed, a day to celebrate our freedom, and celebrate we certainly should. However, it is also very important that it also be a day of reflection.

I hope that you will join me at 3 p.m. local time "To voluntarily and informally observe in their [your] own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they [you] are doing for a moment of silence" as outlined in the "National Moment of Remembrance" directive.

Thank you and as we are reminded by a billboard in Fort Meade, "Safety is ALWAYS in Season."
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