Tag Archive | Memorial Day

The Unknown Soldier

Memorial-day-2013As I thought about the upcoming Memorial Day, I surfed the web to see what interesting tidbit I could discover, and ended up on YouTube looking at videos of the changing of the guard at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. You cannot view the ceremony without realizing how far we have come, and I’m not so sure it is in the right direction.

Today, we take a more casual approach to life as a whole and this includes the way we celebrate our special days. Even though we have our picnics and parades, we typically regard the day as the coming of summer. Alas we can break out the white shoes and officially move into a more relaxed mode. Yet these men of the Old Guard recognize the importance of this memorial and regardless of the calendar’s date, time of day, or atmospheric conditions, and man their posts to carry out their duties with honor and decorum.

Not only is it impressive to watch the guards march back and forth, it is also captivating to see that it is not merely a rote exercise. When people step out of line, they move into action to execute their responsibilities. Check out this video. Fortunately, a word to the wise was sufficient.

They know this unknown veteran paid the ultimate price with his life, and it is his sacrifice and that of others like him that allows them and all of us to continue to enjoy the rewards that come with freedom.  Let’s use this Memorial Day to remember as we enjoy the fruits of freedom they purchased for us.

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Memorial Day Challenge

How much do you know about Memorial Day? Just for fun, let’s test your knowledge. Take the quiz and check your results. The answers are below. (No cheating, now.)

1. Memorial Day was originally called

a. Fallen Hero’s Day

b. Veteran’s Day

c. Decoration Day

2. The first official celebration of Memorial Day (under its original name), took place 3 years after which war?

a. War of 1812

b. Civil War

c. Spanish American War

3. Moina Michael wrote a Memorial Day poem referencing this flower. Today men and women wear it to honor those who have provided the ultimate sacrifice to secure our freedom.

a. Red rose

b. Red geranium

c. Poppy

4. Which of the following statements is true?

a. On Memorial Day, the flag should be at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff.

b. On Memorial Day, the flag should be at full-staff until noon only, then lowered to half-staff until it is removed.

c. On Memorial Day, the flag may fly all day without regard to lowering and removing  it at sundown.

5. The first state to officially recognize Memorial Day is

a. New York

b. Massachusetts

c. Virginia

6. The two most popular items used to honor soldiers are

a. Flags and wreaths

b. Bands and parades

c. Flags and flowers

7. The song most frequently played on Memorial Day is

a. Stars and Stripes

b. Taps

c. Star Spangled Banner

Check your answers below and rate your score. 

Answers:  1-c; 2-b; 3-c; 4-a; 5-a; 6-c; 7-b

7 correct answers Go to the head of the line. The first hot dog is yours.
6 correct answers Good work. You can be second in line.
5 correct answers Memory is getting shaky. Check out the Internet before getting in line.
0-4 correct answers Pop quizzes aren’t your thing. Line up for clean-up duty.

 


What will you celebrate on Memorial Day?

We can count the hours until the long awaited Memorial Day weekend will begin. For most people you talk to, you’ll find them looking forward to three days jam packed with activities analogous to summer – picnics, swimming, camping, relaxing on the deck and doing just about anything in the outdoors. Some, of course, will remember the intent of the commemoration, a day dedicated to the men and women who have died in service to our country. These may display the flag or attend a parade. But is that enough?

A litmus test to determine if you and your family have the right perspective of Memorial Day is to ask your kids what the day is all about. If they can’t tell you, some remedial work is in order. Why not turn back the clock and see what you and your family can do to honor the brave men and women of our military who risk their lives so that we can remain free? You may know the family of someone who is deployed and can make your tribute more personal, but whether it’s flying the flag, attending a parade or Memorial Day ceremony, or donating to an organization that provides assistance to our service men and women, we do not want to lose sight of their contributions. It is important we remember and that we pass it on to the generations to come.

If interested in donating to an organization that supports the military, Charity Navigator has dedicated a special web page with ratings and additional information to help you decide where best to designate your funds.