Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May (May 25 in 2009). Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War (it is celebrated near the day of reunification after the civil war), it was expanded after World War I to include American casualties of any war or military action.
For those of you in the DC area, there will be a National Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 25th at 2:00 p.m.
A Memorial Day Prayer:
By Rev. Dick Kozelka (ret)
First Congregational Church of Minnesota
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
[though 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.”
Wherever you will be, what ever you will be doing on Memorial Day, enjoy and take a moment to remember why Memorial Day is celebrated.
When flow’ry Summer is at hand,
And Spring has gemm’d the earth with bloom,
We hither bring, with loving hand,
Bright flow’rs to deck our soldier’s tomb.
Gentle birds above are sweetly singing
O’er the graves of heroes brave and true;
While the sweetest flow’rs we are bringing,
Wreath’d in garlands of red, white and blue.
With snowy hawthorn, clusters white,
Fair violets of heav’nly blue,
And early roses, fresh and bright,
We wreathe the red, and white, and blue.
Soldiers Memorial Day
words by Mary B. C. Slade and music by W. O. Perkins, 1870.