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SOME THOUGHTS ON MEMORIAL DAY

Posted by Tim Bryce on May 24, 2013

BRYCE ON THE MEANING OF THIS HOLIDAY

– It’s not about barbecues, auto racing, or the start of summer.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
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On Monday we will commemorate Memorial Day, a custom in this country resulting from our Civil War where we honored the dead soldiers of both the North and the South. Originally, it was called “Decoration Day,” an expression older people would occasionally use as I remember from my youth. The intent was to honor the soldiers by decorating their graves either with small flags, flowers, or some other small tribute. Actually the custom of honoring deceased soldiers is an old one, going back to the Romans.

Today, Memorial Day is celebrated more as the start of summer vacation and the Indianapolis 500 as opposed to remembering the millions of soldiers who gave their lives in the service of their country which is rather disappointing. Fortunately, there are still people who commemorate the day with a small town parade or observe a military service at a nearby cemetery. Two of the most impressive services is at the Tomb of the Unknowns at the Arlington National Cemetery, and Gettysburg National Cemetery in Pennsylvania. You remember, the place where Lincoln delivered his famous address, “Four score and seven years ago…”

It’s the last paragraph of Lincoln’s address which defines the meaning of Memorial Day:

“But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us-that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion-that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain-that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom-and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

One custom commonly overlooked on Memorial Day is the display of the American flag. The proper etiquette is to raise it briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lower it to the half-staff position, where it remains until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the rest of the day. Those of us with modest sized flags at home should simply display them proudly.

The one event I particularly enjoy is the National Memorial Day Concert in Washington, DC and televised on PBS. They do an admirable job of remembering our troops.

Let us never forget, Memorial Day is not about barbecues, auto racing, the end of the school year or the beginning of summer, it’s about honoring our fallen heroes.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

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Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  DEALING WITH STRESS – There sure seems to be a lot of people walking around uptight and find it difficult to relax.

LAST TIME:  HAS BASEBALL’S TIME PASSED? – It looks more like a three ring circus as opposed to a sporting venue.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News with Dave and Lance” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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4 Responses to “SOME THOUGHTS ON MEMORIAL DAY”

  1. sirchristiantheheck@reagan.com said

    Very well said and all too true. We have forgotten the true meaning of this day but, of course, these are the times we are living in today(to our detriment).Well written & thanks for the memories anyway. God Bless & Enjoy !!!

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  2. Francis Dryden said

    Just a note from a non-American on the text excerpt of the Gettysburg Address Tim. I noticed in the one paragraph in your piece that Mr. Lincoln used the word “here” 7 times… If you read his speech leaving them all out, it reads better. My first thought is that way back then they no doubt didn’t use professional speechwriters and one would have to scratch out amendments or have a pretty sloppy manuscript to go down in history.

    That was probably the style of Mr. Lincoln and of those days.

    Francis

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