Celebrate Memorial Day the Way it was Intended
May 26, 2012, 9:15 AM
Filed under: Uncategorized

Does anyone know why we celebrate Memorial Day?  I fear this honored national holiday has become another excuse to “party” rather than what the day was intended to stand for.  In my family we have had at least one member of every generation serve in the military and we have ALWAYS been taught to honor and thank these brave men and women both living and passed.  It deeply upsets me to see this service disrespected by those who have benefited from the freedoms that they provide with their very lives.  What will you do to thank these people who paid the ultimate price so that you can live free?

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service.  Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.  The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis’ birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.

Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.

To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps.”

The Moment of Remembrance is a step in the right direction to returning the meaning back to the day. What is needed is a full return to the original day of observance. Set aside one day out of the year for the nation to get together to remember, reflect and honor those who have given their all in service to their country.

The “Memorial” in Memorial Day has been ignored by too many of us who are beneficiaries of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. Often we do not observe the day as it should be, a day where we actively remember our ancestors, our family members, our loved ones, our neighbors, and our friends who have given the ultimate sacrifice:

  • by visiting cemeteries and placing flags or flowers on the graves of our fallen heroes.
  • by visiting memorials.
  • by flying the U.S. Flag at half-staff until noon.
  • by flying the ‘POW/MIA Flag’ as well (Section 1082 of the 1998 Defense Authorization Act).
  • by participating in a “National Moment of Remembrance“: at 3 p.m. to pause and think upon the true meaning of the day, and for Taps to be played.
  • by renewing a pledge to aid the widows, widowers, and orphans of our fallen dead, and to aid the disabled veterans.
  • Buy a solider lunch or a cup of coffee or a drink and sincerely thank him or her for their service.
  • Contact your local VFW and ask if there is a family in need you can help, in any way.
  • volunteer to visit or sit with solders at retirement homes or veterans hospitals.
  • put a yellow ribbon around your tree.
  • Tell your family the real story behind the day.  Teach your children to be thankful and respectful during a parade.
  • Teach your family proper care for our nations flag.  Sing patriotic songs.

The U.S. flag should always be treated with utmost care and respect.  Remember, the flag represents a living country and, as such, is considered a living thing.

        • Always display the flag with the blue union field up- never display the flag upside down, except as a distress signal.
        • Always hold the flag carefully- never let it touch anything beneath it: the ground, the floor, water or merchandise.
        • Always carry the flag aloft and free- never carry it flag or horizontally.
        • Always keep the flag clean and safe- never let it become torn, soiled or damaged.
        • Always dispose of a flag properly, preferably by burning it. Always treat the flag with respect.  Never use it for advertising purposes.  Never embroider it on household items or pieces of clothing.  Never use it as part of a costume or athletic uniform.  However, it is proper to attach a flag patch to the uniform of military personnel, fire fighters, police officers and members of other patriotic organizations- provided the patch is properly affixed. (Note: “properly affixed” is best understood by referring to the flag code.)

But what may be needed to return the solemn, and even sacred, spirit back to Memorial Day is for a return to its traditional day of observance. Many feel that when Congress made the day into a three-day weekend in with the National Holiday Act of 1971, it made it all the easier for people to be distracted from the spirit and meaning of the day. As the VFW stated in its 2002 Memorial Day address: “Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed greatly to the general public’s nonchalant observance of Memorial Day.”To date, there has been no further developments on the bill. Please write your Representative and your Senators, urging them to support these bills. You can also contact Mr. Inouyeto let him know of your support.

The Hatfield Borough Memorial Day activities start off with a wreath laying ceremony at the Veterans Memorial at 9 AM.  The 71st PVI will be doing a salute.  The Veterans Memorial at East Broad and Market streets Hatfield, PA starts at 7:30am.
Immediately following the ceremony, the parade will step off from the Veterans Memorial and head up Broad Street, make a left on Koffel Road and end up at the Hatfield American Legion Post 933.
71st PVI Military and Civilian members will gather at the Hatfield American Legion at 7:30 AM.  We will start to shuttle 71st PVI members down to the Veterans Memorial staging area at 8 AM.  Cars will be left at the Legion.
Immediately following the parade, there will be a ceremony at the Hatfield American Legion.  The Hatfield Post 933 Legionnaires, Local Borough officials and a guest speaker will honor our fallen Veterans and POW/MIA’s.  The 71st PVI will conduct a salute.
The Hatfield American Legion then opens the doors to the local community for a complimentary luncheon.
The festivities conclude after lunch.


The Robert W. Bracken American Legion Post 382 in Bristol Borough   will hold Memorial Day services on Monday, May 28th at the  Harriman   Monument on the corner of Farragut Avenue and Monroe Street at 9:00am,   continuing at St. Mark’s Church on Radcliffe Street at 9:30 a.m.,    followed by St. James Church located at Walnut and Cedar streets at 10:00    am. and concluding at the Bristol Cemetery on Route 13 at 11:00am.


Langhorne’s  Memorial Day Parade kicks off at 9:00am on May 28 outside the American Legion  Jesse W. Soby Post No. 148 at 115 W. Richardson Ave.  After a service  there, the parade will run through the streets of Langhorne and part of  Langhorne Manor. Legion auxiliary members will collect items for troops  serving overseas and in military hospitals during the parade. They ask  for non-perishable personal care items such as razors, toothpaste, soap,  shampoo, etc.


The Newtown Memorial Day parade kicks off on May 28th at 9:00am.   The parade is organized by American Legion Post 440. It starts at the   Commons West Building and continues through  the Newtown Cemetery, where   a short ceremony will be held. The parade continues on through several   other cemeteries and ends at  Post 440 on Linden Ave.


The Penndel-Hulmeville Memorial Day Parade takes place May 26th  beginning at 9:00am in Lincoln Avenue (Hulmeville) and concluding at  the Penndel Memorial  Ball Field. The Penndel-Hulmeville Memorial Day  Parade was founded with  the intent  to honor those who work to defend  our beautiful country.


The Warminster Township Memorial Day Ceremony & Parade is on May 28th with the ceremony starting at 10:00am. The parade begins  at 11:00am, weather permitting. This event begins at the Warminster  Township Building and ends at the VFW Post on Louis Drive. Yardley

Local veterans, borough officials and community volunteers have again   all stepped up to support the 2011 Yardley Memorial Day events.   Starting at 7:00 am on Monday, May 28, 21-gun  salute will be issued at   Slate Hill, Saint Andrews and Saint Ignatius  cemeteries.


2012 will be celebrated as a milestone year for Doylestown as  we will mark the 200th anniversary of Doylestown becoming the county  seat of Bucks County. To commemorate, we are planning a weeklong event  to take place beginning from Memorial Day, May 28th to Saturday, June  2nd. Planned activities included: a Moustache Contest; Art Exhibition;  Antique Car Show; Walking Tours; Historical Lectures; Mock Trial; School  Plaque Dedication; Fashion Show; Veterans Appreciation Day; Time  Capsule Dedication; Old Fashioned Pet Pageant & Carnival;  Firefighter Day; Community Picnic; Fireworks and more.


The annual tradition continues! The Doylestown Memorial Day parade starts 10:00am on May 28th at CB West. The parade will proceed east on West Court Street, east on West State Street, north on North Main Street to the Doylestown Cemetary for a service.

Fuel up for the parade festivities with the Memorial Day Pancake Breakfast from 7:00 am – 12:00 pm on May 28th at the Doylestown Masonic Lodge’s Annual Event.

A Memorial Day Doylestown Open House will be at the Bucks County Civil War Library & Museum from 8:30am- 12:00pm on May 28th.  Residents are invited to take guided tours with    uniformed docents.  Active duty military families can visit before or    after the  Doylestown Memorial Day Parade to share history in  partnership  with  the Blue Star  Museums program as developed by the  National  Endowment  for the Arts.

In the Civil War Encampment, living historians introduce visitors to the early days of the Civil War in the North at Mercer Museum in Doylestown on May 26th from 10:00 am – 4:00pm and May 27th 12:00pm – 4:00pm. Visit with engineers and map makers, join the ranks of new    recruits to the Union Army, watch medical demonstrations, interact with    local civilians, and participate in special demonstrations and    activities. Program marks the beginning of the 150th anniversary of the    Civil War. Rain or Shine. Included with museum admission.


Join in remembrance of veterans at  the American Legion Post #242 Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony.  Event  is being held on May 28th beginning at 9:00 am.  The parade  begins at 9th & Park Avenue and will proceed north on   9th Street  to Mill Street, turning east onto Mill Street and going to   Memorial  Park. A ceremony will be held at the monument and at the   conclusion of  ceremony the parade will continue east on Mill Street to   Fourth  Street. Turning south on Fourth Street going to Broad Street and    heading east on Broad Street to the American Legion Post #242 at 610 E.    Broad Street.

A job fair for veterans will be held at June 9, 10am-2pm at the Coatsville VA Medical Center Building 5 RSVP by emailing:

   Hero Walk Hometown Parade at Trinity Lutheran 1000 West Main St.  Lansdale June 9th at 9am for registration 10 am Parade start  All proceeds benefit the wounded warrior project.  215-362-1089

Visit Help Restore the Traditional Day of Observance page for more information on this issue, and for more ways you can ledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us as sacred charges upon the Nation’s gratitude,–the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.” –General John Logan, General Order No. 11, 5 May 1868


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