Memorial Day Matters

Single Flower Lying at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall by Maya Ying LinTake this opportunity to teach your children  that what we have and how we live is a costly gift  from others. Memorial Day in the United States signifies an official time to honor soldiers who died in our country’s service. We honor them by remembering their sacrifice. The observance began in the 1800’s, after the civil war, as a time of remembrance and thanksgiving for their ultimate service to our country.  Many people also visit the burial sites of special deceased loved ones, leaving flowers and offering thanks for the lives of those who have died before us.  This day of remembrance connects us to the past and to those who have served us well.

A memorial is a valuable “reminder” and commemorates past persons or occasions that should not be forgotten. The memory keeps events—and people– alive in our minds. It fosters gratitude. Perhaps this is why some try to re-write history and blot out the memory of certain events and faithful forefathers. Undeniable memorials remain strong, such as this beautiful national hymn that many Americans sang today. Written long ago by Daniel Roberts, it well reminds us of the true Source of Blessing and Fount of Goodness.

God of our Fathers (National Hymn)
God of our fathers, whose almighty hand
Leads forth in beauty all the starry band
of shining worlds in splendor through the skies
our grateful songs before Thy throne arise.
Thy love divine hath led us in the past,
in this free land by Thee our lot is cast,
Be Thou our Ruler, Guardian, Guide and Stay,
Thy Word our law, Thy paths our chosen way.
From war’s alarms, from deadly pestilence,
Be Thy strong arm our ever sure defense;
Thy true religion in our hearts increase,
Thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace.
Refresh Thy people on their toilsome way,
Lead us from night to never ending day;
Fill all our lives with love and grace divine,
And glory, laud, and praise be ever Thine.
Daniel C. Roberts, lyrics, 1876
George W. Warren, melody, 1892

If you would like to read more about this national hymn chosen in the 1800’s to commemorate the adoption of the United States constitution follow the link below.  It’s a nice web site with some historic “memorials” that refresh our memories with good things.
P. S. Memorial Day is a perfect occasion to teach our children basic cemetery etiquette, which calls for a showing of honor to the dead by respectful do’s and don’ts. Teach your children to stay on designated paths and driveways, to not run, step or sit on grave markers, to not remove flowers or items placed by other people on graves, to speak quietly so as to not distract other visitors or mourners. Hats are removed by gravesides and pets are not allowed so remember to leave Fido home.

This major holiday is an appropriate time to remind ourselves and our children that living well involves more than the hamburgers we barbecue this weekend. It involves respect, appreciation, and gratitude. We remember, lest we forget those on whose sacrifical shoulders we stand. Remebering the right things and people matter. Blessings on your Memorial weekend.

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