On May 30, 1868, General John Logan, a national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, decreed General Order No. 11, which designated the day for the “purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in nearly every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land”. More than a million men and women have paid such a price in service to their country from the Revolutionary War through the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Basically just to enjoy the nice weather, but the biggest thing is the memorial walk and remember those who’ve fallen before us and respect them and their families for what they have sacrificed for us“, said Steve Marquardt, Bismarck resident.
Retired U.S. Army major Daniel Valle visited the memorial wall in honor of his cousin Manuel, who died in the Vietnam War due to a landmine.
Other young people taking part in the ceremony included local Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Pathfinders; the St. Helena High School Chamber Singers, who performed two songs including the national anthem; and American Legion Boys State representative Jerry Schweiger and Girls State representative Brooke Hollister, who read poems.
DiMaso and a member of Guadagno’s staff, Barbara Horl, whose husband is a veteran and happened to be attending the ceremony, said they did not know the nature of the emergency.
Red poppies have become synonymous with Memorial Day. “Every year we do an oratorical which is where we try to get the students speeches on the constitution-what it means to them”.
With an all-voluntary military, shared sacrifice is largely a thing of the past – even as US troops remain in Afghanistan and Iraq almost 16 years after 9/11. The day we honor our war dead came about 149 years ago this month when a military order came down to place flowers on both Union and Confederate graves at Arlington National Cemetery. This salute was sponsored by the Korean War Veterans, Chapter 51. Almost 200 cemeteries across the country participated in Decoration Day that first year.
“Everyone is more in tune with veterans, more so than when I was in the service”, he said.
“They were heroes, but they were also someone’s child, parent, sibling or friend”, wrote Thompson, who served in Vietnam.
Town Councilwoman Denise Hall, who is the treasurer of the West Hartford Veterans Memorial Fund, announced that the memorial group, as an honor to Van Winkle, would soon be putting in a marker at the Connecticut State Veterans Memorial that alerts visitors to the “sacred ground” at the center of the memorial.
What is Memorial Day like today?