May 26, 2007

Putting the "Memorial" back in Memorial Day

The following is taken from The Memorial Day Foundation website.

The "Memorial" in Memorial Day has been ignored by too many of us who are beneficiaries of those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom and liberty. Often we do not observe the day as it should be, a day where we actively remember those Americans including our ancestors, family members, loved ones neighbors and friends who have paid the price for the blessings of liberty. You can change this by doing the following:

- By wearing your Memorial Day Button from the first of May until Memorial Day.
- By visiting cemeteries and placing flags or flowers on the graves of our fallen heroes.
- By flying the U.S. Flag at half-staff until noon. Memorial Day is a day of "National Mourning."
- By attending religious services of your choice. - By visiting memorials.
- By participating in a "National Moment of Remembrance" at 3:00 PM local time, to pause and think upon the meaning of the day and for taps to be played where possible.
- By renewing a pledge to aid the widows, and orphans of our fallen dead, and to aid the disabled veterans.

I also found the following letter quite moving. It was sent to Mrs. Sullivan by President Roosevelt when he learned that her five sons were listed as missing in action after the USS Juneau was sunk:

Dear Mrs. Sullivan:

The knowledge that your five gallant sons are missing in action, against the enemy, inspired me to write you this personal message. I realize full well there is little I can say to assuage your grief.

As the Commander in Chief of the Army and the Navy, I want you to know that the entire nation shares your sorrow. I offer you the condolence and gratitude of our country. We, who remain to carry on the fight, must maintain the spirit in the knowledge that such sacrifice is not in vain. The Navy Department has in-
formed me of the expressed desire of your sons; George Thomas, Francis Henry, Joseph Eugene, Madison Abel, and Albert Leo, to serve on the same ship. I am sure, that we all take pride in the knowledge that they fought side by side. As one of your sons wrote, `We will make a team together that can't be beat.' It is
this spirit which in the end must triumph.

Last March, you, Mrs. Sullivan, were designated to sponsor a ship of the Navy in recognition of your patriotism and that of your sons. I am to understand that you are, now, even more determined to carry on as sponsor. This evidence of unselfish-
ness and courage serves as a real inspiration for me, as I am sure it will for all Americans. Such acts of fate and fortitude in the face of tragedy convince me of the indomitable spirit and will of our people.

I send you my deepest sympathy in your hour of trial and pray that in Almighty God you will find a comfort and help that only He can bring.

Very sincerely yours,

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Five sons, missing....I can not possibly imagine. But I am eternally grateful for their, as well as all Armed Forces men and womens, service. It is because of them that I am able to type this today. I have the honor of knowing two very special veterans myself. One is my Uncle Barbe. He served in the U.S. Navy as a yeoman. The other is my oldest brother, James. He is currently serving his 25th year in the U.S. Air Force. I am so very thankful that I do not have to place a memorial on their graves this Memorial Day. Instead, I get to thank them in person. Thank you, Uncle Barbe. Thank you, Jimmy. And, thank you to all service men and women, present and past, who have given unselfishly to our country. It is you who have made these United States what we are today. Your service is truly appreicated and will forever be remembered.

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