Memorial Day’s True Significance
May 25, 2009
Well, here we are celebrating yet another Memorial Day.
I guess that means really important things to many celebrity obsessed Americans. It means things of great profound significance like barbeques and picnics and what about the Indianapolis 500 annual car race at Indianapolis?
Don’t forget Memorial Day is important because in many areas of the country this is the day they officially open the swimming pools! And the fashion experts tell us this is the day we stop wearing heavy winter clothes and start wearing light colored “seasonal” clothes. (Don’t forget to put those heavy, dark sweaters in mothballs!)
But, this is what America has become. Maybe we always were this way. I don’t believe we were as ignorant of our history or the meaning of our traditions as we are today. I don’t know why I let it bother me that very few high school and even college kids are educated about our history, our traditions, or virtually anything of importance.
Are we to become totally ignorant of our founding as a once great republic? Is it really important that we know this holiday was officially proclaimed on May 5th, l868 by General John Logan, the national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic? Does it matter that originally this day was known as Decoration Day?
Well, there are many philosophical differences among history’s great thinkers, but one thing they all seem to agree on is the danger of not knowing our nation’s history. Of course, many people are somewhat familiar with George Santayana’s dictum, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat its mistakes.” Now even that is not precisely what he said in l905. Check it out and write to the BobGrantOnline web site and tell your fellow Newsmax readers what he really said.
I did not begin writing today’s editorial with the intention of scolding the readers of my web site. I am reminded of the story of the pastor of a church who when asked why he scolded the people sitting in his house of worship responded, “I can’t be heard by anyone who is not here.”
Of course, you know Memorial Day was first known as Decoration Day. That was the day widows and offspring of soldiers killed in that most tragic of wars, the Civil War, were to put a red poppy on the grave of those slain in battle or wear a poppy in commemoration of their service and sacrifice.
I’m not suggesting you prove your awareness of history by going to a veteran’s cemetery to place a red poppy on a grave. I would like to believe that some folks will at least know why this day is a national holiday.
But, I have no illusions. I do believe the election of Barack Obama is just a symptom of our fatal national illness. I don’t even blame him. It is too easy to blame the politicians. They are only taking advantage of our ignorance, greed, sloth, and preoccupation with celebrity and rap “music” and, of course, sex.
As we used to hear in the Navy aboard the ships we were sailing, “Now hear this, now hear this . . .” I am not a prude, but have you noticed everything is about sex anymore? Maybe that’s how we could get our youngsters interested in history, stress the sex angle of every historic event in the world’s chronology!
But enough of today’s scolding. Let me simply conclude today’s sermon by wishing my fellow Americans a safe, reflective and hopeful Memorial Day — hopeful that perhaps my tenebrous forecast for our once glorious republic is not fulfilled, and that by some miracle Memorial Day 2010 will find us in a better economic, cultural, and spiritual condition!