Memorial Day is a time to reflect on the sacrifices made throughout our history by those who answered the call to arms in times of trouble, and in particular, those who gave the last full measure of their devotion to duty.
A few sites worth visiting in commemoration of Memorial Day are listed below.
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Memorial Day Resources . This site has a short list of resources ranging from flag etiquette to Memorial Day history to the poppy’s historical connection with this day of remembrance.
- Memorial Day: In Memory of Our Honored Dead . Extensive collection of links ranging from Presidential remarks and speeches marking the occasion, to casualty files on WWII and Korea.
- Memorial Day Commemoration page. A nicely designed site that includes lists of memorials, a “Wall” for memorial messages, and links to various military sites.
- The History Channel’s Memorial Day Page. History of the holiday, timeline, and veterans forums.
- The Origins of Memorial Day in the United States. Timeline showing the development of the observance of Memorial Day (or Decoration Day, as it was originally called), from the Army’s Center of Military History.
- Information Please Memorial Day Page. Links include a timeline of wars from the American Revolution to the Persian Gulf War, overviews of those conflicts, and numbers of casualties by country.
- Cartoonists honor heroes. A selection of editorial cartoons in honor of those fallen in battle.
- “In Our Youth Our Hearts Were Touched With Fire”. In 1884, Oliver Wendell Holmes gave this Memorial Day speech. If nothing else, it stands as an example of the eloquence of an earlier age. My favorite passage:
“But, nevertheless, the generation that carried on the war has been set apart by its experience. Through our great good fortune, in our youth our hearts were touched with fire. It was given to us to learn at the outset that life is a profound and passionate thing. While we are permitted to scorn nothing but indifference, and do not pretend to undervalue the worldly rewards of ambition, we have seen with our own eyes, beyond and above the gold fields, the snowy heights of honor, and it is for us to bear the report to those who come after us. But, above all, we have learned that whether a man accepts from Fortune her spade, and will look downward and dig, or from Aspiration her axe and cord, and will scale the ice, the one and only success which it is his to command is to bring to his work a mighty heart. Such hearts–ah me, how many!–were stilled twenty years ago; and to us who remain behind is left this day of memories. Every year–in the full tide of spring, at the height of the symphony of flowers and love and life–there comes a pause, and through the silence we hear the lonely pipe of death. Year after year lovers wandering under the apple trees and through the clover and deep grass are surprised with sudden tears as they see black veiled figures stealing through the morning to a soldier’s grave. Year after year the comrades of the dead follow, with public honor, procession and commemorative flags and funeral march–honor and grief from us who stand almost alone, and have seen the best and noblest of our generation pass away.
But grief is not the end of all. I seem to hear the funeral march become a paean. I see beyond the forest the moving banners of a hidden column. Our dead brothers still live for us, and bid us think of life, not death–of life to which in their youth they lent the passion and joy of the spring. As I listen , the great chorus of life and joy begins again, and amid the awful orchestra of seen and unseen powers and destinies of good and evil our trumpets sound once more a note of daring, hope, and will.”