A Memorial Day Message from ALSM’s President & CEO
Our spring holidays (like every day for the past several weeks) have continued to focus on social distancing, temperature monitoring, quarantines, Zoom meetings, and virtual worship; and we now have the traditional opening of summer fun, Memorial Day, with the same “safe” routine.
As many of you know, Memorial Day is the day to honor members of our armed forces who lost their lives in the wars keeping us safe and secure. According to www.history.com,
- IT STARTED WITH THE CIVIL WAR
Memorial Day was a response to the unprecedented carnage of the Civil War, in which some 620,000 soldiers on both sides died. The loss of life and its effect on communities throughout the country led to spontaneous commemorations of the dead.
- GENERAL LOGAN MADE IT OFFICIAL
General Logan, the commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans, on May 5, 1868 issued Orders No.11, which set aside May 30, 1868 “for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion.”
- MEMORIAL DAY HAS ITS CUSTOMS
General Orders No.11 stated that “in this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed,” but over time several customs and symbols became associated with the holiday such as community parades and marching bands as we fly Old Glory to recognize those who sacrificed for our country.
Obviously, these customs will likely not be our experience this year, but let me suggest some ideas to celebrate Memorial Day with your quarantine crew:
- Have a mini cookout. Fire up the grill for a barbeque. Break out the sidewalk chalk, and make your driveway a patriotic sign for people passing by.
- Honor those in your life who died in combat or those who served and are no longer with us. Visit their graves.
- Get outdoors. Break out the walking shoes or the bicycle, fishing rod, and picnic supplies; and enjoy the beauty of our region.
- Watch the National Memorial Day Concert on Sunday at 8:00 p.m. It will be broadcast by PBS. The concert will feature performances and tributes filmed from around the country to honor the troops and our veterans.
- Gather the family around a campfire. Roast marshmallows, tell stories, and sing some campfire songs.
I wish each and all of you a very Happy Memorial Day. Needless to say, it will be different, but we still need to remember those who served to preserve our freedom.
Patricia W. Savage