(Play as you read) Mansions of the Lord, West Point Glee Club and Band
Today, in America, we remember not victories nor defeats nor politics, or why, but with profound gratitude honor those who sacrificed their lives at places like Bunker Hill, Barbary coast, Buena Vista, Gettysburg, San Juan Hill, Verdun, Normandy, Iwo Jima, Chosen Reservoir, Khe Sanh, Granada, Medina Ridge, Fallujah, and Wanat.
Forty million, eight hundred and ninety-two thousand, one hundred and twenty-eight (41,892,128) men and women dutifully served in wars defending our freedom. Six hundred and fifty-one thousand and thirty-one (651,031) died in battle. Three hundred and eight thousand eight hundred others (308,800) died from other deaths (In war theater.) Two hundred and thirty thousand two hundred and fifty-four (230,254) died from other deaths (Not in the war theater.) One million four hundred thirty thousand two hundred and ninety (1,430,290) died from non-mortal woundings.
Two million six hundred and twenty thousand three hundred and seventy-five (2,620,375) dead.
Memorial Day is when Americans remember the fallen who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country's freedom. The day of remembrance was declared a Federal holiday in 1971 by the United States Congress to be observed on the last Monday of May.
The origination of remembrance day came three years after the American Civil War when Major General John A Logan organized a Decoration Day in 1869 to remember those who died. The first memorial was held at Arlington National Cemetery, with over five thousand in attendance. May 30th was chosen because it would be a day when the flowers of Spring would bloom nationwide.
In 1971, the United States Congress declared the day a National Holiday and named it Memorial Day. In December 2000, the United States Congress passed the, The National Day of Remembrance Act and the President signed into law to include all wars to be remembered on the last Monday of May of each year.
Memorials abound across our country, from statues and museums to iconic displays of remembrance. One moving example is the artful display at the Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago, IL., where 58,307 dog tags of those lost in the Vietnam War are displayed. (Thank you, Judey Kalchik)
Another is in the unique sculpture and U.S. Marine Corps memorial, Iwo Jima.
The Vietnam Wall in Washington D.C.
The most significant memorial is the one that each American holds dear in their hearts and minds to not forget, to honor, and never let the blood spilled on our behalf be in vain.
Within, The National Day of Remembrance Act is a call, a request, for all Americans to stop for a time of silence at 3 p.m. to honor, reflect, and remember the millions who, with their last breath, suffered grievous pain, spilled their blood, and sacrificed their lives for our freedom.
Please, do not forget the living veterans who suffer greatly today as they loved, served, fought, and witnessed the brutal sacrifices of their brothers and sisters. For them, it is more than a remembrance; it is an enduring horror. I witnessed my father's distress, a retired U.S.A.F. fighter pilot, every year as he remembered his brothers in arms, members of his fighter squadron, who perished. Of great pain to him was observing an ambivalence of so many on this day.
A warning: History has taught us and begs to be heard today. The greatest of dangers shall befall us if we dare to forget.
3 p.m. today, wherever you are, is an excellent place to start. As for me, I humbly thank each one with tears of gratitude; it's the least I can do.
A sonnet for Memorial Day
Data from VA.gov
About the Creator
Since reading Tolkien in Middle school, I have been fascinated with creating, reading, and hearing art through story’s and music. I am a perpetual student of writing and life.
J. S. Wade owns all work contained here.
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