Monday, May 27, 2013

The Rite of Remembrance

Today is in recognition of  MEMORIAL DAY, a day set aside during the month of May in the United States, for all those men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.   This is not to be confused with Veterans Day, which is held in November and celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, living or dead.         
"To Make Men Free" 
Arlington National Cemetery
                    A few facts:
-  Occurs every year on the final  Monday of May.
-  Formerly known as Decoration Day and originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War.
-  By the 20th century Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in military service.
-  The American flag is placed on each grave in national cemeteries.
-  The painting to the left is entitled "To Make Men Free" by Norman Rockwell which he did in 1943, depicting  the American soldier throughout history from 1776 through the 1940's.  
-  The photo to the right is placing the American flag on each grave at Arlington for fallen comrades up to the present time.   A stirring reminder of this day is a following quote, one among many...  "The patriot's blood is the seed of Freedom's tree"  by Thomas Campbell.
 -  Moina Michael conceived the idea in 1915 to wear red poppies on Memorial Day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war and has become a tradition ever since.  She wrote the poem under the photo as well.

We cherish too the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

The following are excerpts from an article written by Colonel James Puchy, now retired, who served as the Director of Sustainment and Information for the Army Chief of Chaplains at the Pentagon:

"Memorial Day was created as an occasion to honor those who have paid the ultimate price to ensure our freedom. It is our opportunity to stop and give thanks for the many who have died protecting that freedom.  Many consider the 20th century to have been the bloodiest century in all history. Since the start of the 20th century, American service men and women lost their lives in seven wars and conflicts.  The number of lives lost, injuries sustained and families impacted is staggering.

During the last century, the weapons of war have changed significantly. Our nation’s enemies have also changed during the last 100 years. Yet, one constant during this time of change has been the presence of the Bible wherever our troops have been sent. That’s because, regardless of the circumstances of the battlefield, the cry of the soldier remains the same: God help me.

The Bible and its message of foundational hope have provided comfort and encouragement to those facing the most unimaginable circumstances. And, while far too many were lost in conflict, many more soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and guardians have faced the horrors of war as well as the challenges of coming home. When they face the hurdles of readjusting to civilian life, once again the Bible is there to bring comfort, hope, and direction.

God’s Word provides peace amid chaos and perspective when the world seems upside down. It also provides shared encouragement for those on the battlefield and loved ones back home.
For those who give their lives for freedom, words from the Bible are often the last they hear in this world as dedicated chaplains hold their hands and honor their sacrifice--even as they are making it.

I have had the supreme privilege of comforting those on the battlefield by reading words of comfort from God’s Word. I have seen the peace that comes with the assurance of strength and courage offered by God.
The widows, widowers and fatherless children of our American military family also cling to the Bible’s truths as they stand strong within the loss of their loved ones. As we remember the sacrifice of their heroic loved ones, let us not forget their own personal sacrifices".... Colonel James Puchy
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This video presentation entitled "Memorial Day Tribute" was created by Mark FirstSergeant, which fittingly honors all those who died protecting our freedom.  Please watch it in its entirety, which includes a short narrative by  John Wayne on "Taps".  Thank you Mark for putting together such a video that captures the scope of sacrifice throughout the years by so many.
You can view at:

Falling light... falling night...
Trumpet calls the sun sinks in flight
Sleep in peace, comrades dear...
God is near.

It is my fondest desire that war would exist no more on this planet and bloodshed would end across the nations of the world.  That humankind would enjoy the ultimate declaration of Peace and Good Will among men.  That we would prepare for peace as is Isaiah 2:4....  "They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more;"  instead of preparing for war as in Joel 3:10... "Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong."  A dichotomy of scripture; one is for the paragon of peace and the other is for the event of war.

Until next Monday, we'll meet again at the Turn-Up Patch.

1 comment:

  1. very inspirational tribute to Memorial Day.
    It is so easy for people to forget the sacrifices made by these brave souls. Thank you for this
    beautiful blog!