Over the years, we seem to have forgotten what Memorial Day is all about. It is for honoring those who have made the supreme sacrifice to protect us, our freedom, and the Constitution that safeguards those rights.
As Murfreesboro First Presbyterian's Rev. Dr. John Hinkle said, "Memorial Day honors veterans who have died for us. It's not Veterans Day, that's in November and that date honors all veterans. Memorial Day is for those who have made the supreme sacrifice." (Note: Dr. Hinkle made this observation on his Periscope podcast "Three Things I Know")
We seem to live in a time when bundling tributes makes it easy, and so some have blended Decoration Day and Memorial Day together.
Decoration Day was initiated on May 30, 1868 with a proclamation made by Grand Army of the Republic General John A. Logan when 5,000 volunteers helped to decorate 20,000 Confederate and Union graves at Arlington Cemetery.
That event, however, grew from earlier community memorials that that were started two-years prior. Look at the facts: the Civil War ended May 9, 1865, so the May date was symbolic and the first anniversary year was 1866. Many cities claim to have had that first tribute honoring warriors who made the supreme sacrifice: Columbus, Mississippi; Macon, Georgia; Richmond, Virginia; Boalsburg, Pennsylvania; Carbondale, Illinois; and Waterloo, New York.
It was not resolved until a presidential directive on May 26, 1966, when President Lyndon B. Johnson was made. Waterloo won with their May 5, 1866 event because that community took added depth to the memorial tribute. In Waterloo it was a community-wide activity, all businesses were closed while residents decorated graves of soldiers with flowers and flags. CLICK HERE to see President Johnson's directive.
However, over the years Decoration Day took additional meanings. The theme of decorating cemeteries remained, but in some areas included cemeteries with no soldiers and a day to clean the graveyard and following with worship service and dinner on the grounds. In many areas, the present Decoration Day does not focus 100 per cent on honoring only fallen soldiers, whereas that is, according to the VA, still the official purpose of Memorial Day.
But with time, people forget history, and the original meanings start to change.
Visit FLAGS OF REMEMBRANCE, HEALING FIELD
For the eighth year, the Murfreesboro Noon Exchange Club is offering our community the Flags of Remembrance Healing Field. As you walk the rows and rows of Old Glory on tall eight-foot staffs, you get a patriotic feeling. That is, if you have any ounce of pride in being an American and having some knowledge of the sacrifices our forefathers made that allow us now to Twitter, Tweet, Google and FaceBook, listen to news that is for our government or against it, and then worship in any way we choose, or not to worship at all.
We all have these freedoms, but not without soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice while standing up for our rights. Think about that as you walk through the rows of flags.
Also, take the time to look at the names of the fallen heroes posted on the flags. These are heroes with ties to families you probably know. That brings it even closer to home.
And while walking the Healing Field, think about your feelings as you experienced 9/11. For those who can, think back to what you were doing when you heard about JFK being assassinated, or Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. or Robert Kennedy.
Freedom certainly is not free, just ask the families of those who have had a loved one make the supreme sacrifice to protect both our freedom and us.
Thank You Noon Exchange Club
There is no charge, and Noon Exchange Club members say this is an honor for them to present the Flags of Remembrance Healing Field each year for the people of this area.
The Flags of Remembrance Healing Field is open from noon Saturday until dusk Monday (May 28-30, 2016). It is in the field beside First United Methodist Church at 265 West Thompson Lane, across from the Tennessee Miller Coliseum.
And a word to the wise, go early. That's because you'll probably want to return several times, bringing family and friends.