Happy Memorial Day: A Brief History and Gratitude


During The Great War, or as we now refer to it as World War I, the landscape of Western Europe was destroyed from the brutal fighting in the area. Although the Earth of the battlefield was annihilated, the red poppy would grow and became a symbol of remembrance after a poem was written by an Allied Artillery brigade surgeon named Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. After seeing the devastation of the first chlorine gas attack by the Germans, he was inspired by the bright red poppies among the countless soldiers. He wrote the following poem, "In Flanders Fields":

 

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
        In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
        In Flanders fields.
 
What we know as modern Memorial Day was first called Decoration Day. Decoration Day originated after the Civil War and was a time to decorate the graves of fallen Civil War soldiers. After World War I, the holiday became less about the Civil War soldiers, but about all fallen United States soldiers. In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which made Memorial Day the last Monday in May in order to create a 3 day weekend. The act didn't go into effect until 1971.
Today, we hold parades, visit cemeteries and memorials, and some still wear poppies in remembrance and to celebrate Memorial Day. We also take the long weekend to throw parties, grill outside and swim with family and friends, or take long weekend trips. This is a less somber approach of celebrating our fallen heroes.
My Dad (Gary) and I (Daniele) both have military veterans in our family. We are fortunate enough to not have lost anyone in combat. However, we know how lucky we are. We appreciate every single sacrifice that has been made for the country that we both believe is the best country on this Earth. Today is a day of celebration and remembrance, and anyway, you celebrate, we hope you have a good one.
Daniele Ramsey
Social Media Marketer and Online Content Manager

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