We Remember, We Honor, We Celebrate

This is a modified re-post from last year. I love the video and I cannot top it, so I offer it again.

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Today all across this great land we call America, we pause to remember those who have fallen. We give thanks for their final sacrifice, for their love of country, and we say prayers for them, for their families, for the country they serve. We fly flags to honor their service, to observe our own dedication to America.

However, being the ever optimistic Americans we are, we have turned this day formerly known as Decoration Day into a nation wide party, a celebration of patriotism, family, summer’s promise, and just any old other thing we choose it to be, but in some places like our little town Memorial Day is still about the fallen servicemen and women who gave their lives for our country.

Tracking the origins of Memorial Day proves to be a somewhat difficult task. Some attribute it to former African slaves paying tribute to fallen Union soldiers. There is strong evidence that women of the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War. On May 30, 1868, flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. By 1890 all the northern states were observing the day. The South would not observe the same date until after World War I, when it became more than an observance recognizing those fallen in the Civil War.

So, it took another war to unite Americans in remembrance of those fallen heroes.

Stubborn aren’t we? Memorial Day is specifically a day to honor our fallen who died while serving in our Armed Forces. Nevertheless, it reminds me of many trips to the cemetery as a child.

Here in the South, I grew up visiting the cemetery on birthdays, holidays, and whenever my mother felt a need to connect with those gone from her – but never forgotten.

Each visit to the cemetery (my mother never let us call it a graveyard) was a fascinating experience to me as a child, and sometimes we visited, or at least drove by the National Battlefield.

We drove past it everyday on the way to my dad’s business and I always used to watch for the large flag to be at half mast. I knew then that a soldier or sailor had died, or sometimes it signified a national loss like the Apollo 1 tragedy or the loss of a president, as I remember the death of President Kennedy.

There was a protocol to the visit. Always walk around the plots, never step on one. Wander away as my mother knelt in the grass coaxed lovingly into growth in the red Georgia clay. Look first for relatives, those my mother spoke of, and those strange names I was unfamiliar with. Look for the little stone with the lamb on top – the resting place of my mother’s baby sister, Carole. Look for more lambs and little angels – they were dotted around the older section with alarming frequency, something I noticed even as a child. Take note of all the flowers.

It was a fine thing for a family to have many who remembered to honor their dead. I also very vividly remember the little American flags stuck in the ground on days such as Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.

Not too long ago, I found a small cemetery with a mass grave of Confederate soldiers who mostly died of an outbreak, possibly flu, during the war. Those little flags had been put in the ground around the few individual markers. I wondered if they minded that 50 star flag, or if they were grateful to be remembered, honored, prayed over.

It was something I lived with as a child, this presence of the dead. I never thought much about it until recently. Here you literally cannot stray far outside your own yard without encountering some reminder of the war fought on this soil, and those fallen. As a child, many of our parents remembered grandparents who fought in the war. It is alive for us, and so has colored how we honor our dead, those who have fallen in battle, and those who in the words of many a fire and brimstone preacher, “The LORD has called home to be with HIM.” Believe me, no disrespect intended, just an indication of a little local flavor.

And so, I find myself wondering. Is this a southern thing? Is it an American thing? Or is it something common to all of us, this need to return to the place we left our loved ones for the final time on this earth? Is it a regional custom, tied deep in the roots we are so tangled in, or a need born with our souls? I think it must be the latter, with a twist of regional observances that may vary from place to place, but sooth the heart of those who wait here, on this side.

Perhaps, after all is said and done, it meets our needs more than just paying respect to the dead. We wander there, among those peaceful plots, wondering, imagining, where are they? How is it there? When will my time come? Will I be with them again? Then, that most human of all questions. Who will honor me in my time, when I lay beneath the grass coaxed lovingly into growth in the red Georgia clay?

In Ringgold volunteers work for several weeks to place the poles and crosses you saw in the video. You can even get a list of names and locations so that families can locate the cross for their own loved one. We Remember, we honor, we celebrate. I sure hope we always will.

I hope you enjoyed the video of my former hometown. I could not have been more proud to have lived in a place like this little town. I am happy to say that the neighborhood I live in now also places crosses and flags to honor our fallen, not quite as spectacular a display as the town of Ringgold, but volunteers come together to honor those from this community who gave their lives for our freedom, and they have not been forgotten or gone unappreciated.

 

This entry was posted in Celebrations, Christian Values, Military, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

184 Responses to We Remember, We Honor, We Celebrate

  1. czarowniczy says:

    The guards walking the mat start at the north end and walk 21 steps south down the 63 foot mat. The guard then turns east towards the tomb, stands for 21 seconds, the guard then turns north, changes the weapon to the outside shoulder, waits 21 seconds then walks 21 steps to the south. This goes on during the guard’s shift, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. California Joe says:

    A World War II story that’s true and done with reverence and class honoring all who served. It’s been on TCM and I purchased the DVD from Barnes and Noble online. Clifton Webb is priceless!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ausonius says:

      Clifton Webb was alwayspriceless!

      Check out his anti-Chinese Communist movie with William Holden: Satan Never Sleeps.

      Like

      • California Joe says:

        I will! Everybody remembers Clifton Webb in Laura and Cheaper By The Dozen but The Man Who Never Was is a sleeper and slipped through the cracks. I was overwhelmed watching him and the supporting actors did a very credible job as well.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. B says:

    Thank you for this post Menagerie. I’m not sure if it’s a Southern thing or just an American thing. I lean toward the latter, but I’m not sure. My wife was born in the South and she was 2 months old when her father died in Vietnam. We still visit his grave and those of other deceased relatives. I think it’s mostly reverence and respect for those who sacrificed and cared for us before they left this world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • CC says:

      B, it is the “reverence: that the left has stolen from Americans….history, honor, integrity…having turned the concept of ‘patriotism’ into a vile idea of which they sneer at and call “nationalism”.

      For many, Memorial Day is very personal. Veteran’s cemeteries, in flyover country, have interred the lucky who may have gotten to live a life and died…and lay alongside other heroes who were not afforded that luxury. But they had freedom. It is our duty, to keep freedom alive and respected.

      Sundance hit the nail on the head, yesterday I think, in his article about cold anger.

      Like

      • Brian in CA4 says:

        Yes, that cold anger article struck a chord with me also. Yes, I also see it as our duty to keep freedom alive and respected. I’m “B” who posted above….hit the enter key before I was finished.

        Like

  4. Ausonius says:

    I am old enough to recall the term Decoration Day still being used: it was especially important to my maternal grandfather, who assumed the task of decorating the family graves throughout the spring and summer and into the autumn. I always helped him with his peonies and Sweet Williams: he used large fruit-juice cans as vases!

    My maternal grandmother in her teenaged years had worked at “The Old Soldiers’ Home” in Dayton, and attended to Civil-War veterans. I have sometimes connected my students to the Civil War by shaking their hands, mentioning my grandmother, who had touched those Civil War soldiers, and reminding them that the Civil War was not all that remote: they were only “two hands” away from it!

    Liked by 6 people

    • czarowniczy says:

      Wken we used to buy and wear a red poppy.

      Liked by 5 people

      • Ad rem says:

        I remember….

        Liked by 3 people

      • amjean says:

        Yeah, what happened to that tradition? Wasn’t it the VFW who sold them?

        Like

        • VandalizeDuhMastuhsAlgorithms says:

          This is one answer:

          In Flanders Fields, one of history’s most famous wartime poems, written in 1915 during the First World War by Canadian officer and surgeon John McCrae. It helped popularize the red poppy as a symbol of remembrance.

          https://www.britannica.com/topic/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.

          Liked by 1 person

        • czarowniczy says:

          The Brits started it after WW1 and it moved over here. I remember a bunch of groups selling them, I don’t think one group had a lock on them but it’s getting harder to find them.

          Like

    • COliberty says:

      Ausonius, thank you for sharing that practice – I am certain it brought the reality of the brutal Civil War much more into focus for those that you met.

      For my family – brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, all our children and grandchildren – we have a family reunion every year in various locations across the country. In 2000 we met in Carthage, MO, for the specific purpose of holding a ceremony honoring our great-great-great-grandfather who fought and died there during the Civil War. With the help of the wonderful folks at Carthage who have a program to specifically help families locate and honor their ancestors, we were able to locate his grave and held a full regalia military service and set a gravestone for him. For all of us, it is critically important to know and remember where we came from so that we know how to go forward in liberty and freedom.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ad rem says:

      I bought a small collection of Minie Balls when we visitied some of the Civil War battle sites back in the 80’s. Later, I used to pass them around for my students to inspect as we discussed specific battles. I still remember how reverently they handled them.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Avi says:

    I remember my beloved Uncle Isidore ( who I never got to meet) who was a surgeon with Patton killed by a sniper outside of Paris

    Liked by 2 people

  6. jus wundrin says:

    God bless those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom…….that appears to be taken for granted anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Patriot1783 says:

    Thank you Menagerie for your heartwarming thread. My ancestors may have very well fought alongside yours. I think they would be very pleased their descendants have found themselves in another setting so many years later and honoring their memories together. ❤️

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Jimmy Jack says:

    Lovely post. Thank you for sharing.

    I do think it is a human thing to want something on earth that is a last tie to our loved one. It’s why so many people set up those little roadside memorials where car accidents occur too I think.

    I do however see a particular reverence for the deceased in the South. I say that as a Yankee raised in NYC living in the south for ages now. People throughout the South still wait for funerals to pass by as well. I don’t know if it stems from respect and chivalrous civility that are such hallmarks of Southern culture or if it’s the Southern reverence for their ancestors. Either way it is comforting to me.

    One thing I have been thinking about this Memorial Day for the first time is how would Americans fare with the war dead if there is another Civil War because we are inching towards it more every day with the increasing insanity of this lockdown not only pushing folks to the edge but highlighting the irreconcilable differences between the left and those that love America who are conservatives. The face masks are fast becoming the public identifier of political beliefs, a trait furthers by Cuomo this weekend with his tweet about wearing masks as “RESPECT”. He knows full well that disrespect is the number one reason inmates give for why they killed someone. It’s a dog whistle to the unhinged and the beginning of the bird digging for this election.

    God help us all and save America dear Lord.

    I am thankful everyday my Marine came home from Iraq along with his two brothers. We were lucky where so many others weren’t band what’s even more tragic is seeing it come to light they were sent there on the same kind of intentionally false intelligence from Five Eyes member UK as produced the fake intel that kicked off the Russia hoax and impeachment fiasco. I personally don’t think it’s unrelated. Same actors, same goals. Such evil has created untold heartache.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. MIKE says:

    Love you, Pops.
    2nd Marines Division
    TARAWA
    GUADALCANAL
    SAIPAN

    Follow me

    Liked by 5 people

  10. rah says:

    “The South would not observe the same date until after World War I, when it became more than an observance recognizing those fallen in the Civil War.
    So, it took another war to unite Americans in remembrance of those fallen heroes.”

    Actually it took multiple wars and a whole lot of time to reunite our country after the civil war. The Spanish American war was the first great step towards that reunification. Then every war there after. But still there remained holds outs. Perhaps the most famous being the city of Vicksburg, MS which surrendered after a long tough siege by Grants forces on July 4th, 1863 that was followed by a rough occupation and then the poverty of the post war years during reconstruction. The city would not formally and fully recognize or celebrate independence day until 1945 though some individuals and businesses in town did so starting in 1917.

    The defeat at Gettysburg in the east and surrender of Vicksburg in the west those first four days of July 1863 was the beginning of the end for the Confederacy.

    The ignorant people today that are tearing down statues of Confederate Generals and claim the stars and bars is a symbol of racism, have no concept of our real history and deny the reality that all of those fighting were Americans that were giving up their lives for the ideas of what America should be and would become. They are simpletons who cannot understand that the vast majority of those that fought for the Confederacy were not defending slavery but to defend their birthright to live as they choose. It was not us and them, it was all of us!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m a “damn Yankee” and proud of it. And I despise those bleeding-heart, liberal, progressive, race-baiting bass-turds that caused the takedown of the Confederate statues and memorials. The Confederates, although perhaps some misguided, were imho as brave a fighting man as those on “our” side and they also should not be forgotten.

      Liked by 2 people

      • TreeClimber says:

        Thank you, for that. I’m a great-great(great?) niece of some of those Boys in Grey… and it cuts to the quick every time I see them badmouthed.

        Liked by 4 people

  11. NJF says:

    Thanks as always Menagerie for this post. Thinking about my dad. Navy for 17 years, during both WWII & Korea. My father in law fought in the Army during Korea.

    This made me tear up. Just beautiful.

    God bless all our treeper vets!

    Liked by 5 people

  12. patti says:

    “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” —Winston Churchill

    Liked by 6 people

  13. scrap1ron says:

    A glorious day in Western New York. Sunny, 80 degrees with low humidity. Took Mom for a ride to the cemetery this morning to plant some flowers at Dad’s grave. It was good to see that all the veteran’s markers had American flags placed by the Boy Scouts in coordination with the local VFW. There had been an article last week that some areas in New York were going to ban this due to the CCP flu. I brought along a few dozen small flags just in case.

    Love you, Dad!
    USN Machinist’s Mate 1948 – 1953
    USS Franklin D. Roosevelt CV-42
    Korean War

    Liked by 4 people

  14. jumpinjarhead says:

    I commend this vignette to your attention as we honor our fallen.

    I note as an important aside for me personally, that the conflict involved in this Inspiring but unspeakably tragic story, is yet another of those we should NEVER again undertake. There is NOTHING to be gained in any islamic country worth a single drop of American blood or dollar of our treasure in the context of the kinds of “reasons” we have relied upon to “justify” any of the islamic conflicts in which we have become mired since 9/11.

    https://www.businessinsider.com/john-kellys-speech-about-marines-in-ramadi-2013-6?fbclid=IwAR3mIZwu3RYdxW0y9Gi5hcT1VhpWUGxZRDMsbYyN9dys9S6JXNre0debCRg

    Liked by 2 people

    • VandalizeDuhMastuhsAlgorithms says:

      Please consider my post in the open thread.
      It speaks of other bitter, implacable foes (Protestant Reformers vs Roman Catholics) coming together, however tenuously and fitfully – to defeat a common foe – the Turkish/Islamist Ottoman Empire.

      Catholic Archbishops and their Lutheran colleagues joined in protest against Emperor Walz of Minnesota, and his dictates against public worship.

      https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2020/05/25/monday-may-25th-open-thread/#comment-8253862

      Too much history all around todisregard…

      Remember the memories of Memorial Day!

      Like

  15. jay says:

    Retired Navy SEAL Jocko Willink: What every American should stop to think about on Memorial Day

    “[I want to] remind people that the soldier, sailor, airman or Marine that we talk about in kind of abstract terms, I want people to remember that these are human beings, that these are people with families, hopes and dreams and that they sacrificed everything that they have so that we can have freedom,” said Willink, host of the “Jocko Podcast.”

    Willink, who served 20 years in the U.S. military and led the most highly decorated U.S. special operations unit of the Iraq war, said that during this holiday his mind is on the comrades that he lost in battle.

    https://youtu.be/Retired Navy SEAL Jocko Willink: What every American should stop to think about on Memorial Day

    “[I want to] remind people that the soldier, sailor, airman or Marine that we talk about in kind of abstract terms, I want people to remember that these are human beings, that these are people with families, hopes and dreams and that they sacrificed everything that they have so that we can have freedom,” said Willink, host of the “Jocko Podcast.”

    Willink, who served 20 years in the U.S. military and led the most highly decorated U.S. special operations unit of the Iraq war, said that during this holiday his mind is on the comrades that he lost in battle.

    GOD BLESS YOU JOCKO

    Liked by 1 person

  16. VoteAllIncumbantsOut says:

    Simple and powerful.

    Like

  17. czarowniczy says:

    As humbling a the Tomb of the Unknowns is there’s a tomb in Section 26 of Arlington that, to me, is even more awe inspiring, it’s the Tomb of the Civil War Unknowns.

    It’s not as large as the Tomb of the Unknowns and no guards patrol it but the tomb contains the unidentified remains of 2111 soldiers, Confederate and Union, that were recovered from battlefields within a 25-mile radius of DC.

    It’s sort of a shock to accidentally come up on it, it’s really somewhat unassuming and it sits on a path in a flower garden. It isn’t until you read the inscription on its side and think about it that the full impact hits you. 2111 bodies of both sides jumbled together in a huge stone vault for eternity.

    Liked by 5 people

  18. Searkreb says:

    Best non bible study podcast I’ve ever listened to.
    Jocko Willink interviewing the first leader of Navy top gun

    https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/jocko-podcast/id1070322219?i=1000475185440

    Long but worth it

    Like

  19. czarowniczy says:

    MSG Roy P. Benavidez. In 1965 Roy, a member of 5th Special Forces Group, was assigned to Vietnam. While there he stepped on a landmine and was told by doctors he would never walk again, he’d get a medical discharge from the Army. By literally dragging himself across the floor on his elbows, forcing himself to stand by using his arms to push himself up the wall he taught himself to walk again. He walked out of the hospital on his own a year later, returned to Special Forces and airborne status and found himself in Vietnam again in early 1968.

    On 2 May, while assigned to MACV SOG, Roy heard a radio call from a group of 12 SF operators and 9 Montagnard that was under attack by about 1000 NVA. A Dustoff call went out and Roy just jumped aboard an outgoing Huey with a medical bag, he was armed only with his bowie knife. He jumped off of the helicopter at the LZ and over the next 6 hours saved at least 8 soldiers. He was shot and hit with shrapnel numerous times during his time on the ground, he was even bayoneted by an NVA soldier. Roy pulled the bayonet out, pulled his own knife out, stabbed the NVA soldier, killing him instead. Roy finally went down from blood loss and was thought to be dead, he was one of the last evaced from the LZ. Back at the base the attending physician though he was dead but as he was zipping up the body bag Roy had just enough left in him to spit in the physician’s face. They took Roy to treatment.

    Roy had at least 37 separate bullet, shrapnel and bayonet wounds on his body, more than enough to kill anyone, but he lived and retired. He was awarded 4 Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Service Cross for his heroics. In 1973 a SF officer, getting the full details of Roy’s heroic efforts, tried to get the DSC upgraded to the Medal of Honor but the time for the consideration of getting the MoH awarded had expired. The officer went to Congress for an exception and received it but the Army Decorations Board refused to consider it. The board required a living eyewitness to the event but by the time the request hit the Board it was thought that every eyewitness was dead. As if by a miracle an eyewitness volunteered and the Board did upgrade the DSC to the Moh and President Reagan awarded it to Roy on February 24th, 1981.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. MaineCoon says:

    A beautiful tribute on Omaha Beach by an 11-year-old boy…

    Like

  21. TreeClimber says:

    I’ve got a few soldier-come-home songs in my playlist, but this one never fails to make me cry.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Magabear says:

    You just know people on the left are quite happy today that Memorial Day celebrations are limited, or in some cases, even canceled. But “we the people” let them get away with it and seem content with herding into box stores and sitting in long drive thru lines at fast food places.

    Sorry, Gen. Washington, but we really aren’t worthy of you and your fellow patriots sacrifices. 😔

    Liked by 1 person

  23. cheryl says:

    More than a Name on a Wall
    Statler Brothers

    Liked by 2 people

  24. BitchyPants says:

    https://www.ksat.com/news/local/2020/05/25/watch-world-war-ii-warbird-planes-to-fly-over-san-antonio-for-memorial-day-around-noon/
    Austin and San Antonio Texas were treated to a flyover today for Memorial Day by World War II Warbird Planes

    Liked by 2 people

  25. My best friend of 40 years uncle is a Vietnam War Hero. The post office here is named after him. He was only a kid, age wise.

    We will be going to the cemetery shortly to pay our respect.

    Our President truly cares in his heart for these Patriot men and women. It is inspiring. He is the definition of an informal soldier. He is doggedly bringing our country back. He is trying to bring the Patriot spirit back for us. Of course, a lot of us never lost it.

    I feel sorry, to a certain degree for the ones who don’t get it. Whatever their reason for not understanding what this country and American spirit brings about is on them though.

    The other side will not win. They can never win over what is in my mind and heart.

    Liked by 3 people

  26. SamlAdams says:

    My parents were both from small midwestern towns that sent their sons to every war starting in 1861. What people don’t appreciate is that through WWI, these units often concentrated enlistees by locale. So often an enormous toll would be taken in a single campaign. My gg grandfather’s regiment in the Civil War drew from a farming county in Indiana, 1240 enlisted, by war’s end 260 were left to march in the Grand Review. It left a mark that has not been forgotten. Even during WWII my mother as a small told me of seeing Gold Stars go up in neighbors windows and asking her parents what that meant. Her father, a WWI veteran had to explain it to her. And in late 1944, after getting his notice of reactivation at age 47 (he was an engineer–and was needed for the planned invasion of Japan) took all his children to sit for portraits that he could take with him) That is why in these places they remember. The sacrifice is always with them.

    Like

  27. nimrodman says:

    I saw a wonderful story on Fox News yesterday about a volunteer network of buglers that play live taps at servicemen’s funerals

    Official buglers on salary in the military had dwindled in number and not enough to go around, such that families were resorting to playing a recorded version on a boombox

    This volunteer effort is run out of one particular guy’s’ basement, he’s established a network of buglers around the nation and a website from families to contact so they can assign the nearest bugler to each funeral service

    Looks like the story dates to 3 years ago but the video clip is well worth your couple of minutes, I guarantee it

    Veterans buried in silence: Group tries to revive Taps at military funerals
    https://www.foxnews.com/us/veterans-buried-in-silence-group-tries-to-revive-taps-at-military-funerals

    Like

  28. HeLLINaHandbasket says:

    We have the most beautiful flag in the world.

    Like

  29. Richard L Baxter says:

    Beautiful! Thank you, and may God Bless America.

    Like

  30. AnotherView says:

    I thought about my father today, and his brothers who all fought in WWII and were decorated. And I also thought about other Wars my relatives fought in, from the Revolutionary War, Civil War, Vietnam, Spanish War, Mexican War, WWI. And the sacrifices they made for this country. I’m proud to be their descendant and will always remember and honor their valor.

    Like

  31. It is sad that many people inside our borders are indifferent to Memorial Day. They say, “those aren’t my ancestors, so why should I care?” Most of those people traveled here in comfort, since the laws were changed in 1965 to bring in the third world. Americans with a connection to our history are being replaced, states are being turned blue, and the new arrivals would like to abolish the Bill of Rights. President Trump was elected on a campaign to stop the madness. Little Kushner is preventing POTUS from implementing what we all voted for.

    Like

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