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The Snoop 5.22.2014

Next Monday is Memorial Day, the first holiday of the summer season and a day generally thought of as the beginning of summer. In most cases school is out by Memorial Day and the holiday kicks off the summer vacation season.
In recognition of Decoration Day, as it was originally known, I once again borrow lines from Dr. Don Kuehle.
Decoration Day
Decoration Day! May 30th! A Day set aside to “decorate” the graves of fallen heroes with flowers.
I remember, as a child, observing Decoration Day. I would go with my mother and grandmother to visit the cemeteries where our relatives were buried; there, we would place fresh-cut flowers on their graves. We would also place flowers on the graves of those men and women, whom we knew, who had died in the war(s), fighting for our country.
We learned in school about the sanctity of Decoration Day; we learned to recite John McCrae’s poem: “In Flander’s Field.”
In Flander’s 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.
Decoration Day has a proud, and long, history. Organized groups of women in the Southern states were decorating the graves of their Confederate dead before the end of the Civil War. Decoration Day was changed to Memorial Day by General John Logan on May 5, 1868, and was first observed on May 30, 1868; it was on that day that flowers were placed on the graves of both Union and  Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. By 1890, Memorial Day/Decoration Day was recognized by both the southern and the northern states.
There are many traditions connected to Memorial Day. In 1915, Moina Michael, inspired by John McCrae’s poem, wrote her own:
We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
She conceived of the idea that all of us should wear red poppies on Memorial Day to honor those who had died fighting for their country.
Finally, in Memorial Day ceremonies across our land, we hear the notes of “Taps.” Composed by Major General Daniel Butterfield during the Civil War, Taps has become our way of truly honoring our fallen dead.
Fading light dims the sight,
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright,
From afar drawing nigh – falls the night.
Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky;
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.
Then good night, peaceful night,
Till the light of the dawn shineth bright,
God is near, do not fear – Friend, good night!
Call it Decoration Day – Call it Memorial Day – Let this be a day for honoring those who have fought and died for our country. Let’s take the time to decorate the graves of those we love and honor with beautiful flowers – symbols of everlasting life, and a spirit of sacrifice that never dies!          –Dr. Don Kuehle,United Methodist, Retired, Jackson, Missouri
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Decoration Day, or Memorial Day, was observed on May 30 until Congress decided we needed another “more convenient” three-day weekend. On June 28, 1968, the Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which moved four holidays, including Memorial Day, from their traditional dates to a specified Monday in order to create a three-day weekend. The change moved Memorial Day from its traditional May 30 date to the last Monday in May. The law took effect at the federal level in 1971. After some initial confusion and unwillingness to comply, all 50 states adopted Congress’ change of date within a few years.
Although Memorial Day endures as a holiday which most businesses observe, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) advocate returning to the original date. The VFW stated in a 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 a lot to the general public’s nonchalant observance of Memorial Day.”
Starting in 1987 Hawaii’s Senator Daniel Inouye, a World War II veteran, introduced a measure to return Memorial Day to its traditional date. Inouye continued introducing the resolution until his death in 2012.
Our local American Legion and VFW posts traditionally recognize Memorial Day by hosting a ceremony in the Ava Cemetery – always at 11 a.m. on the Monday holiday. The ceremony is brief – but meaningful – and one that everyone should find time to attend.