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memorial day

Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer in the US, and it’s traditionally a day of recognition of those who served our country and died in the effort.

Large numbers of people, families and areas have broadened the scope to include honoring those who have fallen in the effort to protect our safety, Police, Fire, EMTs, volunteers, etc. as well as friends and family who have passed on.

Simply put, it’s a time to remember and honor all who are no longer with us, regardless of how or why they died.

This year Memorial Day falls on May 28th. I decided to look up more information about Memorial Day, its history and how it is celebrated around our country. I read a lot of articles, some shown below. And I found some great quotes.

"Without heroes, we are all plain people, and don't know how far we can go."
Bernard Malamud

"Heroes take journeys, confront dragons, and discover the treasure of their true selves."
Carol Lynn Pearson

"I believe it is the nature of people to be heroes, given the chance."
James A. Autry

"Nurture your minds with great thoughts, to believe in the heroic makes heroes."
Benjamin Disraeli

"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear."
Mark Twain

"Bravery is the capacity to perform properly even when scared half to death."
Omar Bradley

"The secret of Happiness is Freedom, and the secret of Freedom, Courage."

"Heroism ... is endurance for one moment more."
George F. Kennan

After reading these quotes, I was inspired to think that perhaps the real meaning of memorial day is the celebration of our heroes, those who protect our country in the military or other avenues, but perhaps also the everyday heroes amongst us. Every day heroes are those who give their lives for others (and I don’t mean they have to die). Some are the type of hero who runs into the burning building, but most are simple people, doing large and small acts to make someone else’s life better. They start soup kitchen, food drives, battered women and homeless shelters, teach the illiterate, volunteer to be companions to the elderly, take toys to children at Christmas, start clothing drives, fundraisers, benefits and sometimes simply find one person who is down and dejected and share a smile and a hug.

What is your way of being or honoring an everyday hero? How will you observe this day of remembrance?

Link to the other stories:
The Memorial Day Foundation and U-Haul are banding together to remind us of the true meaning of Memorial Day and promote remembrance through putting flowers on graves.

Andy Rooney wrote a story about memorial day with an entirely different focus…using every day to remember those who have died in service


The Memorial Day Foundation and U-Haul are banding together to remind us of the true meaning of Memorial Day and promote remembrance through putting flowers on graves.
U-Haul is teaming up with The Memorial Day Foundation to remind the public to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day: "To remember that the true meaning of Memorial Day is to honor and remember those Americans who died defending freedom."
Memorial Day IS NOT about getting an extra day off from work, having a picnic with family and friends, or taking advantage of all the many sales that will be offered. Unfortunately, many Americans don't know what Memorial Day is all about.
The Memorial Day Foundation is running an initiative to involve the public in patriotism and remembrance through the historical and traditional ways of observing Memorial Day. One such way is with flowers. The gift of flowers at a memorial site is a ritual practiced worldwide in every culture.  Memorial Day began as Decoration Day, on May 30th, when Americans would decorate the graves of Civil War veterans with flowers. 
Today, The Memorial Day Foundation continues this tradition by bringing floral bouquets of artificial silk flowers appropriately flag draped in red, white and blue to pay tribute to those who fought and died for us. The tradition of red flowers is meant to be a symbol of the blood that was shed for our freedom and liberty, and dates back to the Civil War. Red roses also are the universal symbol of love. In addition, each bouquet will have a thank-you card attached to it that the donor has the option of signing. Thank-you cards indicating war service will be placed at the appropriate memorial in Washington, D.C.

Read more here:

USA Today reports

Could the nation be in danger of forgetting the meaning behind Memorial Day?
A new survey commissioned by the National World War II Museum in New Orleans found that 80% of respondents were found to have "little" or only "some" knowledge of the military holiday while just 20% of respondents claim to be "very familiar" with the day and its purpose.
"Our poll is very revealing," said National WWII Museum president and CEO Gordon Mueller in a news release. "With Americans fighting in Afghanistan, a time to honor those who give their lives for their country has never been more urgent. As a nation we're in danger of forgetting the day's meaning altogether."
To get you quickly up to speed, Memorial Day is a federal holiday created to honor those who have died in military service. Starting with the Civil War, the remembrance grew to encompass all Americans who have died in all of the nation's wars and those who are currently serving.
Not all is lost. Here is a list of ways Americans are planning to honor our military heroes this Memorial Day, including several ideas for you:

  • Thanking a veteran
  • Placing an American flag on the grave of a veteran
  • Visiting a military museum or historic military site
  • Writing a veteran and thanking them for their services to the nation
  • Organizing a community-wide observance
  • Honoring a veteran with a brick at The National WWII Museum
  • Changing their Facebook profile to an American flag
  • Writing a letter to the editor of a local newspaper to remind their community about Memorial Day's significance.

Read more to find out some other efforts to raise funds or offer support to our military and their families.
Here’s a story with a little different focus.
A Memorial Day Worth Remembering
60 Minutes commentary by CBS News correspondent Andy Rooney.

Tomorrow is Memorial Day, the day we have set aside to honor by remembering all the Americans who have died fighting for the thing we like the most about our America: the freedom we have to live as we please.

No official day to remember is adequate for something like that. It's too formal. It gets to be just another day on the calendar. No one would know from Memorial Day that Richie M., who was shot through the forehead coming onto Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, wore different color socks on each foot because he thought it brought him good luck.

No one would remember on Memorial Day that Eddie G. had promised to marry Julie W. the day after he got home from the war, but didn't marry Julie because he never came home from the war. Eddie was shot dead on an un-American desert island, Iwo Jima.

For too many Americans, Memorial Day has become just another day off. There's only so much time any of us can spend remembering those we loved who have died, but the men, boys really, who died in our wars deserve at least a few moments of reflection during which we consider what they did for us.

They died.

We use the phrase "gave their lives," but they didn't give their lives. Their lives were taken from them.

There is more bravery at war than in peace, and it seems wrong that we have so often saved this virtue to use for our least noble activity - war. The goal of war is to cause death to other people.

Because I was in the Army during World War II, I have more to remember on Memorial Day than most of you. I had good friends who were killed.

Charley Wood wrote poetry in high school. He was killed when his Piper Cub was shot down while he was flying as a spotter for the artillery.

Bob O'Connor went down in flames in his B-17.

Obie Slingerland and I were best friends and co-captains of our high school football team. Obie was killed on the deck of the Saratoga when a bomb that hadn't dropped exploded as he landed.

I won't think of them anymore tomorrow, Memorial Day, than I think of them any other day of my life.

Remembering doesn't do the remembered any good, of course. It's for ourselves, the living. I wish we could dedicate Memorial Day, not to the memory of those who have died at war, but to the idea of saving the lives of the young people who are going to die in the future if we don't find some new way - some new religion maybe - that takes war out of our lives.

That would be a Memorial Day worth celebrating.

Written By Andy Rooney
Watch the Segment »
Description: Rooney On Lives Taken
This segment was originally broadcast on May 29, 2005.

Copyright 2010 CBS. All rights reserved.
Another site I came across in my literature listed 4 stories that are suitable to share with children to help them understand the day.  Description:

Printable Memorial Day Short Stories for Children

Description: The Little Drummer Boy - Good stories to share with children on Memorial Day - Memorial Day Short Stories for Kids.

The Little Drummer-Boy
By Albert Bushnell Hart (Adapted)

Description: Two Hero-Stories of the Civil War - Good stories to share with children on Memorial Day - Memorial Day Short Stories for Kids.

Two Hero-Stories of the Civil War
By Ben La Bree (Adapted)

Description: The Young Sentinel - Good stories to share with children on Memorial Day - Memorial Day Short Stories for Kids.

The Young Sentinel
By Z. A. Mudge (Adapted)

Description: The Colonel of the Zouaves - Good stories to share with children on Memorial Day - Memorial Day Short Stories for Kids.

The Colonel of the Zouaves
By Noah Brooks (Adapted)

The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.
Benjamin Disraeli

And each man stand with his face in the light of his own drawn sword. Ready to do what a hero can.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Four things support the world: the learning of the wise, the justice of the great, the prayers of the good, and the valor of the brave.

Each man is a hero and an oracle to somebody.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

That's what it takes to be a hero, a little gem of innocence inside you that makes you want to believe that there still exists a right and wrong, that decency will somehow triumph in the end.
Lise Hand

Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.
Billy Graham

The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.

A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.
Joseph Campbell

Valor grows by daring, fear by holding back.
Publilius Syrus

True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.
Arthur Ashe

Heroism is latent in every human soul - However humble or unknown, they (the veterans) have renounced what are accounted pleasures and cheerfully undertaken all the self-denials - privations, toils, dangers, sufferings, sicknesses, mutilations, life-long hurts and losses, death itself - for some great good, dimly seen but dearly held.
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

Bravery never goes out of fashion.

William Makepeace Thackeray

Brave men are all vertebrates; they have their softness on the surface and their toughness in the middle.
G. K. Chesterton

True bravery is shown by performing without witness what one might be capable of doing before all the world.
François de la Rochefoucauld

The bravest thing you can do when you are not brave is to profess courage and act accordingly.
Corra Harris

Self-trust is the essence of heroism.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

A hero is one who knows how to hang on one minute longer.

We must be prepared to make heroic sacrifices for the cause of peace that we make ungrudgingly for the cause of war. There is no task that is more important or closer to my heart.
Albert Einstein

It is surmounting difficulties that makes heroes.
Louis Pasteur

It doesn't take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.
Norman Schwarzkopf

Heroism is not only in the man, but in the occasion.
Calvin Coolidge

The hero is the man dedicated to the creation and / or defense of reality-conforming, life-promoting values.
Andrew Bernstein

In valor there is hope.
Publius Cornelius Tacitus

Perfect valor is to behave, without witnesses, as one would act were all the world watching.
François de la Rochefoucauld

Valor is a gift. Those having it never know for sure whether they have it till the test comes. And those having it in one test never know for sure if they will have it when the next test comes.
Napoleon Bonaparte

Valor is stability, not of legs and arms, but of courage and the soul.
Michel de Montaigne

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