"A thoughtful mind, when it sees a Nation's flag, sees not the flag only, but the Nation itself; and whatever may be its symbols, its insignia, he reads chiefly in the flag the Government, the principles, the truths, the history which belongs to the Nation which belongs to the Nation that sets it forth."
Henry Ward Beecher from " The American Flag"
Some ideas for this coming Memorial Day from http://www.usmemorialday.org/observe.htm:
What a great idea! I would add to this a reading (over the next few days especially) of stories or biographies that highlight some of the many sacrifices thousands have made in order that you and I could be and remain free and live in relative security from further terrorist attacks.
The "Memorial" in Memorial Day has been ignored by too many of us who are beneficiaries of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. Often we do not observe the day as it should be, a day where we actively remember our ancestors, our family members, our loved ones, our neighbors, and our friends who have given the ultimate sacrifice:
-by visiting cemeteries and placing flags or flowers on the graves of our fallen heroes.
-by visiting memorials.
-by flying the U.S. Flag at half-staff until noon.
-by flying the 'POW/MIA Flag' as well (Section 1082 of the 1998 Defense Authorization Act).
-by renewing a pledge to aid the widows, widowers, and orphans of our falled dead, and to aid the disabled veterans.
Also, please consider adding your voice in support of the efforts to restore the traditional day of observance of Memorial Day back to May 30th (instead of "the last Monday in May"). This would help greatly to return the solemn meaning back to the day, and to help return minds and hearts to think upon the ultimate sacrifices made by those in service to our country. Just one day out of the year to honor our loved ones, our ancestors, our friends who died in conflicts and wars -- not to honor war, but those that died in those conflicts and wars.
I receive many emails from people expressing their thanks for those who have served and gave the ultimate sacrifice for this country. The following, received in 1999 and used with the author's permission, sums up all the emails I have received very elegantly, and is true to the original spirit and meaning of Memorial Day.
"This weekend I am going to do something different. I am going to buy some carnations each day and go to one of the nearby cemetaries and walk through the sections for soldiers. When I find a grave that has no flowers, I'll leave one and say a prayer for the family of that person, who for some reason could not bring their soldier flowers. I will pray for our country and all who serve or have served. For their families, who also serve by losing precious days, weeks and months spent with their loved ones who are off serving, preserving peace and the freedom we have in this country. I'll pray for the families who paid the ultimate price, who's loved ones died, or were taken captive and never returned. I'll pray for anyone who may still be held in captivity and thinks perhaps they are forgotten. I do NOT forget.
I'll say a prayer for every person on the Internet who takes a moment from their time to come to sites like yours and be reminded of what this holiday really means. And I'll say a prayer of thanks and ask God's richest blessings on you.
Thank you again.... and God bless!