Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day Tribute

Parades, flags flying, and ceremonies will be held tomorrow for the yearly celebration of Memorial Day, a national holiday to honor soldiers who have served and died in the service of the United States. Amid all these events is a profound sense of remembering and acknowledging those who have served and sacrificed everything for their country, for you and for me.

As I think of all these brave men and women, I get teary-eyed, not only for my child who is no longer here but also for those children of my friends who wanted to serve in the armed forces but will never be able to do so because they died before they could even enlist. Even though I am not related to anyone in the service of our country, I have no problem giving my time this day to say “thank you.” These soldiers have protected all of us, so that we can live a better life. Even if it is just putting a flag outside your home, watching the parade on television or going to a cemetery where many are buried, spending time remembering these fallen heroes is to honor them. They are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and someone’s child.

Though it did not originate in the United States, memorial days upon which the graves of the community’s heroes were decorated with flowers and garlands are ancient customs originating in Greece 2,500 years ago. After the Civil War, states began their own designated “Decoration Days.” The terms “Memorial Day and “Decoration Day” were used interchangeably for many years. In May 1868, May 30th was designated as the national Memorial Day we now celebrate the last Monday in May.

TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) is the well-known national organization to turn to if you have lost a child or any loved one in the military. In addition to their magazine printed during the year with articles on hope and survival, they offer peer support and assist survivors who have lost a loved one in the line of duty. They hold national conferences this time of year and in the summer, sponsor a “good grief” camp for children who have lost a parent or a sibling. They can be contacted at 1-800-959-8277 or online at for more information.

Memories carry the magic of our history with opportunities for sharing, for understand and for healing.

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