How Much Do You Know about Memorial Day?

Happy Memorial Day!

Today is Memorial Day. Many of us will spend it on the nearest lake,  with friends and family, or attend an event. We look forward to the day, as with many US Holidays it gives us a day off from the grind of work. We know it’s a time to say thanks to those who have fought for our freedoms but do we really understand?

Here are a few facts about Memorial Day you may not know. I’ll admit, I learned a few things, perhaps you will too.

  1. Memorial Day was first known as Decoration Day – designated the 30th of May,1868, for the purpose of strewing with flowers or decorating the graves of those who died in defense of their country.
  2. Memorial Day was once celebrated on May the 30th, no matter the day of the week.The Uniform Holidays Act moved the holiday from a fixed date on the calendar to a designated Monday (last one in May) to create long weekends for federal employees. The bill went into effect three years later in 1971.
  3. The Civil War was the deadliest in history with approximately 620,000 Americans died.
  4. The Red Poppy is recognized as the official Memorial Day Flower. The wearing of poppies in honor of America’s war dead is traditionally done on Memorial Day. The practice of wearing of poppies takes its origin from the poem In Flanders Fields, written in 1915 by John McCrae.
  5. It is customary for the flag to fly at half-staff until noon; then raised to full staff until sunset on Memorial Day.
  6. December 28, 2000 –President Bill Clinton signed the “National Moment of Remembrance Act,” which asks Americans to pause for one minute at 3 p.m. in the act of national unity. The time was chosen because 3 p.m. “is the time when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday.”
  7. The crowd that attended the first Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery remains about the same size as those that attend today’s observance: about 5,000 people.
  8. 27-30 funerals are conducted at Arlington Cemetery every day.Memorial Day marks the beginning of the summer vacation season.
  9. Memorial Day marks the beginning of the summer vacation season.
  10. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council notes that starting on Memorial Day, Americans will consume a stomach-busting 818 dawgs per second. That’s just a few wieners short of 71 million in a day.
  11. It is expected that 39.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home this weekend; the highest number since 2005.

So, be safe and remember those who have fought for our freedoms. Freedom is Never free.

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Join the conversation. Talk to me or tell me your story. I’m all ears.

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Mothers


Tomorrow is Mother’s Day.

Women of all ages will receive flowers, candy, chocolate-covered strawberries, gift certificates for a spa day, a family dinner in their honor, a special gift unique to her, or if the husband/ dad is buying the gift – the latest small appliance (just kidding guys).

Mother’s Day can be a day filled with family fun, pride, joy, drama, or sadness – all at the same time. A day in the life of motherhood.

For all the hype leading up to this holiday and others, most fail to really reflect on the role and responsibilities we mothers have. But, when I think about motherhood, what I learned from my mother, witnessed in others, and hopefully passed on to my children — a number of words come to mind.

Loving – of course, tops the list. Other than God’s there is no greater love.

Resourceful – mothers can make a costume out of a brown paper a sack, a meal from scraps of leftovers, or a magical dress from her imagination.

Persistent – mothers do not give up, give in, or waiver when it comes to the best interest of her child.

Strong – mothers are the strongest people I know. In the midst of tough times, adversity, tragedy, illness, or any of life’s curveballs. She shoulders the burden, picks up the slack, gets creative, and does what she must.

Teacher– from the time that tiny infant is placed into her arms. She has the wondrous opportunity of introducing them to the world and all things new. From teaching the basics — utensils, dressing, and manners, to throwing a ball, swimming, driving, and dating. She teaches right from wrong, life lessons, independence, self-reliance, and accountability. She does her best to prepare them for life outside the safety of “mom’s protection and help her children become the best adults they can be.

Enforcer– often it’s up to her to teach the hard lessons of accountability and consequences and no one does that better than mom.

Protector – it’s true what they say. Mess with a woman’s child and her claws come out. Like a lioness protecting her cubs, we guard our children with our lives.

Doctor, nurse & medic – all in one. She bandages scraped knees, sits with the croupy child in a steam bath all night, stops the bleeding, splints the broken arm, and stays up all night when the fever is high. And, when more serious – she is the advocate that “doesn’t play.”

Mothers are this and so much more.

I write this today in honor of all mothers and in particular, my daughter Jessica and sister, Deborah.

For the last 3 going on 4 weeks, Jessica has been at the hospital bedside of her ten-year/old daughter. I’ve never been prouder of the woman and mother she has become. She has handled this scary, trying, exhausting time with grace, strength, resilience, and all of it with a smile on her face. Mallory and Harper are lucky and blessed to call her mom.

And to my sister, Deborah. You showed us strength, love, and dignity through the most difficult task a mother hopes she never has to face – saying goodbye to a child. Lori was blessed to have you as her advocate and mother.

This tribute in no way is meant to diminish the role of the father. I believe both mothers and fathers are the foundation of raising strong, happy and independent children. Today, however, is her day. It’s her time to let the spotlight shine on her.

So, if you’re lucky enough to have your mother still around – beyond the gifts and flowers- tell her you love her. The woman who gave you life, tickled your tummy, made you feel safe, and taught you about life won’t be around forever. So, call her – just to say ”hi.” Hearing your voice never gets old and brings joy to her heart.

Strength and dignity are her clothing,

and she laughs at the time to come.

She opens her mouth with wisdom,

and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

She looks well to the ways of her household

and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Her children rise up and call her blessed;

    her husband also, and he praises her:

“Many women have done excellently,

    but you surpass them all.”

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,

    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Proverbs 31:25-30 English Standard Version (ESV)