God Bless Our Fallen Men & Women

Let us never forget the true meaning of Memorial Day.

Formerly known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day is celebrated each year on the last Monday in May. The first known observance occurred in Waterloo, New York, on May 5, 1866, and it was first widely observed after the Civil War on May 30, 1868 to commemorate the sacrifices of those who died in service of the Union. General John A. Logan (a general during the Civil War; also served in the U.S. Senate) of the Grand Army of the Republic (a fraternal organization of Union Civil War veterans) declared in General Order #11:

The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

Gen. John A. Logan

Major Gen. James Garfield (who was elected President in 1880 and assassinated six months after taking office) made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, after which 5,000 people helped decorate the graves of the over 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.

Memorial Day was widely celebrated across the nation by the late 1800s, and after World War I, became a holiday to remember the fallen in all of America’s wars.

In 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo the official birthplace of Memorial Day. Waterloo had been celebrating Memorial Day every year, and businesses closed while residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flags.

In 1971, the U.S. Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday, and each year, volunteers place flags on all the graves at Arlington National Cemetery.

God bless our fallen heroes who gave their last full measure of devotion to defend our freedoms as Americans. They are the reason we have the freedom to meet as Republicans and conservatives. They are the reason we exist. May God bless them always.

Just a few organizations to support our veterans — there are many more out there worthy of support.

Honor Flight Network — Organization dedicated to getting as many WWII veterans, our greatest generation, to the WWII memorial as possible before it is too late. http://www.honorflight.org/

Rolling Thunder — POW/MIA advocacy organization. http://www.rollingthunder1.com/about.html

No Greater Sacrifice — Supporting the families of our fallen men and women. http://www.nogreatersacrifice.org/

United Service Organization (USO) — In service of our troops. http://www.uso.org/

American Legion — Serving our veterans. http://www.legion.org/

Special Operations Warrior Foundation — Providing counseling and college scholarships to the children of fallen special operations personnel. http://www.specialops.org/

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