Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day - Know This

Memorial day is time to recognize the sacrifice of American patriots who gave their lives to defend our American freedoms. This Memorial Day we honor them and remember that those lives were lost in a struggle dedicated to the eternal truths of freedom. Our country was founded on that spirit, and Americans have nurtured it through every war in every era.

While many communities lay claim to the origin of Memorial Day, it was the Grand Army of the Republic, a Civil War Organization of Union Veterans, who officially declared May 5th as Decoration Day. It was proclaimed as a day for citizens to place flowers on the graves of Civil War dead. The nation’s first large observance was held that year in 1868, just three years after the Civil War ended, at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington DC.

By the end of the 19th century, Decoration Day ceremonies were held across the country on May 30. It was not until after World War I that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. Then, in 1971 Congress declared Memorial Day a National Holiday.

Many Americans confuse the significance of Memorial Day compared to Veterans Day and the recently celebrated Armed forces day.

• Veterans Day pays tribute to every veteran who has served our nation.

• Armed forces Day recognizes those who are serving in the military today.

• Memorial Day is different. On this day the 148th Anniversary of this day we specially recognize the sacrifices of those who paid the cost of our freedoms with their lives in defense of this Great Nation.

Starting with the American Revolution, to the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert shield / Storm, Operation Iraqi freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan America’s military forces have built a tradition of honorable and faithful service.

Our Nation has been blessed with times of peace and prosperity. From September 11, 2001 to June 2014 (12 years) we have been a Nation at war and continue to be a Nation under attack by Terrorists. Therefore, this year’s Memorial Day has special meaning for the love ones of all those Service Members from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard who were killed in combat since 2001.

As we remember those who have most recently giving their lives in serving our Great Nation, we must also remember the hundreds of thousands who have gone before them. It is interesting to note that America’s war dead will not only be remembered today in the United States, but also at gatherings around the world. One overseas ceremony is in Cambridge, England. What makes this event amazing is that the United Kingdom doesn’t officially have a Memorial Day it has Remembrance Day in November. However, whenever Memorial Day is celebrated in the United States, hundreds of English citizens faithfully attend an Annual American Memorial Day Service at the Cambridge American Cemetery. They go there to honor the more than 3,800 Americans who are buried there on land donated by Cambridge University in 1944. The site is one of 24 permanent American Military Cemeteries on foreign soil such as Aisne-Marne, Brittany, Epinal, Lorraine, Meuse-Argone in Normandy, Oise-Aisne, Rhone, Saint Mihiel, Somme and Suresnes American Cemeteries in France, Henry Chapelle, Ardenes and Flanders Field American Cemeteries in Belgium, Florence, and Sicily Rome American Cemeteries in Italy, Luxemburg American Cemetery in Luxemburg, Mexico City American Cemetery in Mexico, Netherlands American Cemetery in the Netherlands, Corozal American Cemetery in Panama, Manila American Cemetery in Philippines, North Africa American Cemetery in Tunisia, Brookwood and Cambridge American Cemeteries in England.

The graves at the Cambridge American Military Cemetery are mostly filled with the remains of those Army Air forces men who flew bombers from the English countryside to the European mainland. Dedicated in 1956 by President Eisenhower, the Cambridge American Military Cemetery features a Chapel, reflecting pools and the Tablets of the missing, where the names and particulars of more than 5,100 Soldiers, Sailors and Marines are etched. Of the missing 3,524 are from the Army and Army Air Corps, 1,371 from the Navy, 201 from the Coast Guard and 30 from the Marine Corps.

President Eisenhower said “the Americans whose names are on the Tablets of the Missing were part of the price that free men were forced to pay to defend human liberty and rights”. He also stated: “All who shall hereafter live in freedom will be here reminded that to these men and their comrades we owe a debt to be paid with grateful remembrance of their sacrifice and high resolve that the cause for which they died shall live eternally”.

Please this May 30, 2017 stand with us and remember and honor all those that paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and their families.

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