by Jeff Salter
Originally called Decoration Day, this is a day of remembrance for all those who have died in our nation’s service. Officially proclaimed in 1868, it was first observed on May 30 that year by placing flowers on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. Since 1968, Memorial Day’s observance moves each year to the last Monday in May.
That’s the official explanation. But Memorial Day has also become a day to honor living veterans and first responders, as well as remembering deceased relatives or friends. Since all those are noble pursuits, I can’t fault anyone for stretching the original intent of this day.
Last year, at about this time, I wrote about my relatives who served in uniform and also related some of the horrific mortality statistics of recent wars.
Please take another look at last year’s column:
About Jeff Salter
Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas.
Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance.
"Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 ///
"Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 ///
"Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 ///
"Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 ///
"The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 ///
"Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 ///
"Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 ///
"One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 ///
"The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 ///
"Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 ///
"Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 ///
"Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 ///
"Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 ///
"Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 ///
"Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 ///
"Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 ///
"The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 ///
Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos.
Worked about 30 years in librarianship.
Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist.
Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland).
Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
Both columns are great, Jeff. I was in high school while you were serving overseas, and remember the protests, etc. I always watched the Memorial Day parades and applauded our vets, though, even Vietnam Vets. So glad things have finally turned around and our service men and women are getting the recognition they so richly deserve. Happy Memorial Day, and thanks.
Thanks, Meg. Yes, I am very gratified to see how the vets of Desert Storm, and Iraqi Freedom … and Afghanistan operations are typically honored. There are still many coming back with terrible injuries and emotional problems. Not to mention the thousands killed in action.
I mentioned my brother and son’s problems of returning from war, and we lost no one physically in my family during WWII, although my mother lost a boyfriend,(before she met my father, both were tragedies; my parents’ ill-fated meeting was at a war plant). A couple of uncles came back with problems,(almost all were prone to drinking).The sober one was my father’s oldest brother who was a highly decorated chaplain in the ETO, esp, Italy, and was at Anzio. However, both of my mother’s great uncles on h er mother’s side were MIA in WWI, presumed killed,( as they had much to go home to in Italy)…lest we forget…
Yes, Tonette … I’ve read that Graves Registration during WW 1 was woefully inexact. Some mass graves, and some soldiers simply never heard of again. In a single day of one of the Somme battles, the Brits had 60,000 casualties (including dead, wounded, captured, and missing). Difficult to imagine they kept sending them ‘over the top.’
Happy Memorial Day! I can’t wait for sun, friends, pool, and cook out!!! Have a wonderful weekend!
Thanks, Tonya. We’re expecting some of my wife’s cousins in from Cincy.
Very thought-provoking posts, Jeff. The mortality statistics are horrific, particularly for WWI. A whole generation of young men more or less wiped out. We still have some of the field postcards sent back from the front by my great-grandfather, like those in this link
Very thought-provoking posts, Jeff. The mortality statistics are horrific and particularly for WWI. A generation of young men more or less wiped out. We still have the field postcards sent back from the front by my great-grandfather, like those in this link
Glad you stopped by, Elizabeth. My mom found about a dozen letters her father had written to his mother when he served in France during WW 1. His unit was on the line when the Armistice was announced. Sev. yrs. ago, I typed up all those letters and made copies for family members.
Gone but never forgotten.
I get teary-eyed just thinking of the sacrifices made. And when I see a man or woman in uniform, I always take the time to thank them.
That’s wonderful, Jenn. I’ve been a bit shy about doing that, but I’m loosening up. Back in the autumn, I saw an old guy with a cap which revealed he was on one of the ships involved in D-Day. And I mustered up enough courage to speak with him and thank him. later, I looked up his ship. Wow, he was right in the middle of some of he worst of it!
Thank you for your service, Jeff! I hope you get to spend Memorial Day celebrating life and the freedoms we get to enjoy thanks to the sacrifices of those who have served.
Thanks, Micki. Same to you and your military husband!
As a proud sister, cousin, niece and aunt to those who serve and have served, I thank you for both of these blogs, Jeff. Lovely and well done!
Thanks, Anne. Very kind words.
Hi, Jeff. I just had to pop back in here and say WOOHOO! Congratulations on The Overnighter’s Secrets being released! I just picked up my copy. I hope it goes through the roof for you.
Thanks, Laurie — for the promo, the good wishes, and the purchase. No doubt it among the very first.
Please tell me: did you have any trouble downloading or opening the novel? One of my friends said she had some difficulty on her Kindle.
I haven’t tried to open it on my nook yet, but the download process was easy and went well.
that’s great to hear, Laurie. Thanks again!
My pastor posted a Memorial Day prayer today that summed it up neatly for me. In part, it reads:
“May the sacrifices they have made not be forgotten or trivialized by time. As friends, loved ones and grateful citizens, we honor their courage and devotion to duty and pray for the day when war will be no more.”
That’s a beautiful prayer, Chris. And I agree completely.
Love the history of this holiday. Thanks for posting it.
It’s sort of a hobby of many librarians … to research holidays. Not sure why, though.
Hi Jeff! I have awarded you the Kreativ Blogger Award. Visit my site for details, and please bear with the long post.
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