(Editors Note: The following are thoughts from a floor trader friend on Memorial Day, who wishes to remain anonymous. We have edited in this year's dates and times. We ran this blog the last few years going into Memorial Day and received several nice comments. We hope you enjoy it).
“Memorial Day” was called “Decoration Day” many years ago. It originated after the Civil War to commemorate Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. I guess they figured out, over time, that all the other soldiers in other wars needed to be remembered.
I will visit my father’s grave site and see his military issued grave marker with his name, rank, date of birth/death, unit and conflict. In 1873, Secretary of War William Belknap adopted the first design for grave markers to be erected in cemeteries for soldiers who fought in that war. “Civil War”, “Revolutionary War”, “War of 1812″, “Spanish American War”, “World War I”, “World War II”, “Korea”, “Vietnam”, “Lebanon”, “Grenada”, “Panama”, “Persian Gulf” and “Somalia” are a few of the conflicts named on the stones.
If you are in Belgium this weekend, you can stop at Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery and my uncle, James K. McNulty is buried in plot f, row 11, grave 8. They have a ceremony Saturday at 4:00 pm CEST May 23, 2015 to honor the fallen heroes of the Battle of the Bulge. The townspeople will literally meet you at the train and guide you to the site with all the pride and dignity as if it happened yesterday.
There will also be a ceremony at Flander’s Field American Cemetery in Waregem, Belgium on Sunday at 3:00 pm. We found 22 ceremonies in Europe that US service men and women will participate in to commemorate Memorial Day this year.
Major John McCrae, a Canadian military doctor, wrote the famous poem to honor the fallen and is why a red poppy is the symbol of Memorial Day:
“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.”
have a great Memorial day Weekend…