Memorial Day

Memorial Day – it’s not just about big box hardware stores and mattress sales!

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who lost their life while serving in the United States military.

So thinking about that… There are SO many who have given SO much, and yet have asked for SO little…

These service members from every color, creed, and nationality proudly and courageously stood and fought for the flag, family, and country. They made the ultimate sacrifice!

So as we get to celebrate at a BBQ, maybe share a little extra family time, and just enjoy life in general… all I’m saying is, let’s just remember, and think about (even if only for a moment), why and how we get this luxury. I hope this blog article inspires a little awareness and just gives a shout out and a toast to all service men and women who have served, and who do serve currently in our military. We appreciate you!

At this time, I would like to take the opportunity to give a shout out and a BIG THANK YOU to just a few of my friends who have served in different branches.

Justin “Flic” Posey – Brookhaven, MS – United States Army

Greg Marlow – Brookhaven, MS – United States Army

Thomas Davis – Brookhaven, MS – United States Army

Dennis Brewer – Brookhaven, MS – United States Army

Kenyatta “Ken” King – Hazlehurst, MS – United States Army

Brad Pope – Jayess, MS – United States Marine Corps

Chris King – Jayess, MS – United States Air Force

Carlos Gallo -Prescott, AZ – United States Air Force

Memorial Day History.

So here’s a little history and what the Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs says.

Today, cities in the North and the South claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day in 1866. Both Macon and Columbus, Ga., claim the title, as well as Richmond, Va. The village of Boalsburg, Pa., claims it began there two years earlier. A stone in a Carbondale, IL., cemetery carries the statement that the first Decoration Day ceremony took place there on April 29, 1866.Approximately 25 places have been named in connection with the origin of Memorial Day, many of them in the South.

Official Birthplace Declared: In 1966, Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, N.Y., the “birthplace” of Memorial Day. There, a ceremony on May 5, 1866, honored local veterans who had fought in the Civil War. Businesses closed and residents flew flags at half-staff. Supporters of Waterloo’s claim say earlier observances in other places were either informal, not community-wide or one-time events.

By the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held on May 30 throughout the nation. State legislatures passed proclamations designating the day, and the Army and Navy adopted regulations for proper observance at their facilities.

It was not until after World War I, however, that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress, though it is still often called Decoration Day. It was then also placed on the last Monday in May, as were some other federal holidays.

To ensure the sacrifices of America ’s fallen heroes are never forgotten, in December 2000, the U.S. Congress passed and the president signed into law “The National Moment of Remembrance Act,” P.L. 106-579, creating the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance. The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation. As Moment of Remembrance founder Carmella LaSpada states: “It’s a way we can all help put the memorial back in Memorial Day.”

Personal Story.

My uncle was like my dad, I mean sure I had a biological father who left when I was really small, and I had a step-father who was a… (Well, we’ll just leave it at that) Anyway, my aunt and uncle were always there for me, and treated me like their own. My uncle, “pops”, was really my only actual father figure and was just “my dad”. Pops was a body man and painter, and worked for various car dealerships around the New Orleans area. Some of the bigger places like Benson, and some small shops too. But Pops was also a Navy Vet who served in Vietnam.

My pops was a strong man, but he never really talked about his time in the military, heck I don’t even know what Navy ship he was on. But I can tell you this, one of the only things that he ever talked about REPEATEDLY to me and my two younger cousins was how he got to see Tina Turner perform in Japan! That… he went on and on about for sure. And hey, we all know that Tina Turner can dance her butt off!

One of our little jokes was that Pops made it through the Vietnam war ok, then he gets home and while riding his Harley, he hit a pothole and shattered his shoulder! But what I didn’t know or even comprehend at that time, especially being a kid, is what some of our military personnel go through just on a daily basis. It wasn’t till much later in life that I found out a couple of tidbits, such as… Can you imagine being on a ship at sea and having to walk by stacks of dead bodies every time you went to the bathroom? Can you? I mean, wow! Think about having that memory.

I then understood why Pops didn’t talk about it. And I also didn’t find out until years later, after he passed away, that he actually had been awarded a Navy Bronze Star.

So why did I tell that very personal story? It’s about awareness and understanding!

There are so many wounded veterans out there who need help and support.

And it’s not always something physical and obvious that you can see. Just to name one organization…

You’ve seen the commercials… The Wounded Warrior Project is a charity and veterans service organization that offers a variety of programs, services and events for wounded military veterans.

Wounded Warrior Project statistics show “more than 52,000 servicemen and women physically injured in recent military conflicts. 500,000 living with invisible wounds, from depression to post-traumatic stress disorder. 320,000 experiencing debilitating brain trauma.”

The Wounded Warrior Project can help service members transition back into civilian life, sometimes it can be tougher than you might think. And for every warrior and family member, it can certainly be a different journey and needs to be addressed on an individual basis.

Their focus is on Veterans and service members who incurred a physical or mental injury, illness, or wound while serving in the military on or after September 11, 2001.

Another great organization, the VFW!

The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is a nonprofit veterans service organization comprised of eligible veterans and military service members from the active, guard and reserve forces. The VFW is one of the most respected voices in Washington, D.C., and within local governments across the United States.

The VFW is the largest and oldest war veterans service organization, they have a long and proven history of providing vital assistance and support to America’s military service men and women. The VFW offers a wide range of assistance programs aimed at helping veterans of every generation.

I would certainly be remiss if I didn’t mention a friend of mine, Mr. Greg Marlow who served in the United States Army and has been involved with this great organization for several years. Greg currently serves as a Commander.

Commander Greg Marlow serves at VFW Post 2618 in Brookhaven, MS.

Commander Marlow is relentless in his passion to serve the VFW and fights for the rights and support for American Veterans EVERY SINGLE DAY! God Bless him!

In closing…

When and if you can, please consider these two great organizations when donating. (Please remember that the VFW has local places, so check your local listings.)

Thoughts and prayers go out for all of our military personnel who can’t be home right now, and their families. We appreciate you! May God Bless you and keep you safe!

And… Please remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice!

From sea to shining sea… Oorah!

The Marines’ Hymn

From the Halls of Montezuma
To the shores of Tripoli;
We fight our country’s battles
In the air, on land, and sea;
First to fight for right and freedom
And to keep our honor clean;
We are proud to claim the title
Of United States Marine.

Our flag’s unfurled to every breeze
From dawn to setting sun;
We have fought in every clime and place
Where we could take a gun;
In the snow of far-off Northern lands
And in sunny tropic scenes,
You will find us always on the job
The United States Marines.

Here’s health to you and to our Corps
Which we are proud to serve;
In many a strife we’ve fought for life
And never lost our nerve.

If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on Heaven’s scenes,
They will find the streets are guarded
By United States Marines.

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