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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pay Your Respects…Display Your Gratitude Next Monday is Memorial Day

By Sid Riley

Bring out your flag…display our nation’s colors. It is time for us all to recognize the sacrifices of hundreds of thousands of brave soldier Americans who have paid the ultimate price defending our nation and all of our rights and freedoms. This Monday, May 31 is ‘Memorial Day’!

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. Since that beginning after the horrendous Civil War, the tribute has been expanded to include all of our nation’s conflicts, and all of the brave, devoted soldiers who have given their lives for our country.

In Jackson County, Enoch Williams, Commander of the Disabled American Veterans, Jackson County Chapter 22, invites all of the citizens of Jackson County and surrounding areas to attend a special Memorial Day Ceremony which will be conducted at 8:00 AM on Monday, May 31 at the North side of the Court House. The famed “Buffalo Soldiers of Jackson County will participate in the ceremony.

Also, don’t forget to buy that poppy. In 1915, inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” Moina Michael replied with her own poem:

“We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies”

She then conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Later a Madam Guerin from France was visiting the United States and learned of this new custom started by Ms. Michael and when she returned to France, made artificial red poppies to raise money for war orphaned children and widowed women. This tradition spread to other countries. In 1921, the Franco-American Children’s League sold poppies nationally to benefit war orphans of France and Belgium. The League disbanded a year later and Madam Guerin approached the VFW for help. Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922 the VFW became the first veterans’ organization to nationally sell poppies. Two years later their “Buddy” Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. In 1948 the US Post Office honored Ms Michael for her role in founding the National Poppy movement by issuing a red 3 cent postage stamp with her likeness on it.

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