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Celebrated on the last Monday in May, Memorial Day is a time to remember the U.S. men and woman who lost their lives serving their country. Originally known as Decoration Day, it was established in 1868 to commemorate the dead from the Civil War and has been celebrated as a federal holiday since 1971. Over the years it came to serve as a day to remember all U.S. men and women killed or missing in action in all wars. Today, Memorial Day is celebrated at Arlington National Cemetery with a ceremony in which a small American flag is placed on each grave. Also, it is customary for the president or vice-president to give a speech honoring the contributions of the dead and lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. About 5,000 people attend the ceremony annually.

Why We Wear Red Poppies

This Memorial Day tradition was inspired by a 1915 poem written by Moina Michael

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
In seems to signal to the skies,
That blood of heroes never dies.

This Memorial Day I would like to dedicate this page to our very special heros ~ the heros who give their lives to keep us safe. Please see my tribute to these officers. I would also like to dedicate this page to the men and women who died on September 11, 2001.

In The Line Of Duty

Attack On America

For our boys in blue, I'd also like to dedicate this page to my nephew, Chad, who served in the United States Marine Corps. He lost a lot of his buddies in 1997 in a helicopter crash in North Carolina. Chad will be graduating from Law Enforcement Academy Class #47 on May 10, 2000! He now serves as a Deputy Sheriff in Florida.

Today's Memorial Day is filled also with cookouts in the backyard and for families to get together. The weekend itself, usually on Sunday is the yearly Indianapolis 500 Race. I used to live in Indianapolis. Qualifications brought a host of people. What a fun time the entire weekends were!

A Memorial Day Prayer

Eternal God,
Creator of years, of centuries,
Lord of whatever is beyond time,
Maker of all species and master of all history --
How shall we speak to you
from our smallness and inconsequence?
Except that you have called us to worship you
in spirit and in truth;
You have dignified us with loves and loyalties;
You have lifted us up with your lovingkindnesses.
Therefore we are bold to come before you without groveling
(though we sometimes feel that low)
and without fear
(thought we are often anxious).
We sing with spirit and pray with courage
because you have dignified us;
You have redeemed us from the aimlessness
of things' going meaninglessly well.
God, lift the hearts of those
for whom this holiday is not just diversion,
but painful memory and continued deprivation.
Bless those whose dear ones have died
needlessly, wastefully (as it seems)
in accident or misadventure.
We remember with compassion those who have died
serving their countries
in the futility of combat.
There is none of us but must come to bereavement and separation,
when all the answers we are offered
fail the question death asks of each of us.
We believe that you will provide for us
as others have been provided with the fulfillment of
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."

By Rev. Dick Kozelka (ret)
First Congregational Church of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN.

Memorial Day Poetry

Eulogy for a Veteran

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the Gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the mornings hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight,
I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die.

Author Unknown

Just A Simple Soldier

He was getting old and paunchy, and his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion telling stories of his past.
Of a war that he had fought in and the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies --they were heros, every one.
And though sometimes to his neighbors, his tales became a joke,
All his Legion buddies listened, for they knew whereof he spoke.
but we'll hear his tales no longer, for old Bill has passed away,
And the world's a little poorer, for a soldier died today.
He was just a common soldier, and his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us we may need his like again.
For when countries are in conflict, then we find the soldier's part
Is to clean up all the troubles that others often start.
If we cannot give him honor, while he's here to hear the praise,
Then at least let's give him homage, at the ending of his days.
Perhaps a simple notice in a paper that would say,
"Our country is in mourning, 'cause a Soldier passed away."

By A. Lawrence Vaincourt

"I hate war as only a soldier who lived it can,

only as one who has seen it's brutality,

its futility, its stupidity."

--Dwight D. Eisenhower

War Memories (1941)
By J.E.Miles

Silently waiting for their Captains command,
these brave fighting soldiers of second brigand.
There goes the order, they repeat the shout,
"Over the top men, everyone out!"

Into the thick of it, a cry of dismay,
for many are wounded in this bloody fray.
Battle after battle, takes place all around,
then suddenly it is silent we don't hear a sound.

The battle is over, the victory is complete,
and the remainder of the enemy surrender in defeat.
But what of the dead comrades who died so in vain,
and the wounded soldiers suffering in pain.

The burial squad set forth upon its given task,
such a price to pay for victory, "Is it right,"
we ask? No music nor glory accompanies this chore,
In search of fallen buddies, victims of war.

U.S. Military Deaths

World War 1

World War 2

Korean War

Vietnam War

Persian Gulf War






Come on...Lets Roll

America has always been known
as the home of the brave.
Where someone is willing to give their life
so that others can be saved.

These are heroes that can touch a heart
and leave an everlasting mark.
Although some never adorn a uniform,
others have honors that shine in the dark.

We have sent Veterans to fight a war,
but never on our home ground.
Veterans fought so that we, Americans,
never hear a bomb's horrific sound.

On September 11, 2001, Americans learned
the true meaning of the word 'heroes.'
We heard them in the air & saw them below.
Heroes forever with us & at ground zero.

The whole world watched as the towers fell;
As an Angel took each soul by the hand.
While our country felt the bombs of hatred ...
Heroes were born across this land.

They were everyday people like me and you;
Who never dreamed they would fight a war.
Oh, in their final moments of life, they learned
just what they were fighting for.

They gave their lives trying to save others.
This redefines the word hero.
And some are still looking for their "brothers,"
lost somewhere at ground zero.

Now as Americans celebrate Veterans Day,
we find ourselves with a different goal.
We honor each Veteran who fought for freedom ...
And to each other, we say, Come On ... Let's Roll.

~Author~ Kaye Des'Ormeaux
Copyright 2001 Kaye Des'Ormeaux
Dedicated to America's heroes.
November 11, 2001

Freedom Is Not Free
By Major Kelly Strong

I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze
A young Marine saluted it, and then
He stood at ease.

I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud
With hair cut square and eyes alert
He'd stand out in any crowd.

I thought, how many men like him
Had fallen through the years?
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers' tears?
How many Pilots' planes shot down?
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves?
No, Freedom is not free.

I heard the sound of taps one night,
When everything was still.
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.

I wondered just how many times
That taps had meant "Amen"
When a flag had draped a coffin
of a brother or a friend.

I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.

I thought about a graveyard
at the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, Freedom isn't free!!

God Bless America

"It is well that war is so

terrible, or we should grow

too fond of it."

--Gen. Robert E. Lee

John Alton Robinson

From the tomb of the unknown soldier
To the silver-haired crowns of our fathers,
From the shores of Tripoli
To the Pacific's pearl-green waters,
I wish to give a tribute,
A four-starred salute today,
For those who fought so bravely
For our freedom and American Way.
We take our rights for granted
But they were earned in blue-red blood
And courage beyond the call of duty
In France's cold, wet mud.
Beginning with the Revolution
Through the Saudi Arabian sands
Men have fought and suffered
And died on foreign lands.
So salute this Memorial Day
And many more to come.
Through blood and guts and glory,
Our freedom has been won.

"Soldier, rest!

Thy warfare o'er,

Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking,

Dream of battled field no more.

Days of danger, nights of waking."

--Sir Walter Scott

They Don't Wear Purple Hearts In Heaven
Author Unknown

I lost my brother to a foreign land;
I was too young to even understand
There was a knock at the front door,
then Momma wasn't smiling anymore.

The man at the door was a Marine;
the first I've ever seen.
Momma told me to go out and play,
then the preacher came and they started to pray.

Tears ran down Momma's eyes,
and I heard her say, "Why, Lord, Why"?
Father stood there seemingly mindless,
all he said was, "We've lost another of America's finest."

The Marine handed Momma a small velvet case,
inside was a Purple Ribbon, attached to a
gold heart with Washington's face.
I asked Momma if it were mine,
but she said, "It's your brother's, Sunshine."

"Momma can we send it to Kevin?"
She answered, "They don't wear Purple Hearts in Heaven."

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