This Side Up

Memorial Day is more than just a long weekend

May 28, 2013 

Did you stop what you were doing this weekend and honor our fallen heroes?

One day a year seems so little to give to our fallen heroes. The tradition started in the 19th century to honor soldiers killed during the Civil War and in South Carolina was observed on May 10.

In 2002 at the VFW Memorial Day address, it was stated that “changing the date merely to create a three-day weekend has undermined the meaning of the day.”

No doubt this has contributed greatly to the general public’s nonchalant observance of Memorial Day.

I had some questions about Memorial Day. I wondered why “Taps” was played at military funerals. “Taps” was used by the military each evening. Due to its haunting and touching melody, it began to be used in military funerals, after the 21-gun salute, as a way to bid the departed soldier a final goodnight.

Why the 21-gun salute? Also known as the three rifle volleys, it has been official practice in the United States since Aug. 18, 1875, and was performed unofficially before that. According to Arlington National Cemetery, the number 21 stems from the Anglo-Saxon naval salute.

Until 1811, the U.S. military funeral gun salutes shot once for each state in the Union,. When the country reached 26 states, the number of shots was reduced to the 21.

Teach your children about the meaning Memorial Day; find a special way for them to remember our fallen heroes.

Don’t let them forget.

On another note:

If you have an un-opened, unexpired plastic bottle of sunscreen, soldiers serving in Afghanistan would love to use it. Mail yours to Jacob’s Light Foundation, 50 Gauguin Court, Middle Island, N.Y., 11953.

This organization – founded in memory of SPC. Jacob Fletcher, who lost his life while serving in Iraq – ships supplies to more than 3,000 troops every month. Learn more at JacobsProgram.org.

Have a comment or story idea for Pat? Email her pateudy09@carolina.rr.com.

Fort Mill Times is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service