THE MUFFLED drum’s sad roll has beat The soldier’s last tattoo; No more on Life’s parade shall meet That brave and fallen few. On Fame’s eternal camping-ground 5 Their silent tents are spread, And Glory guards, with solemn round, The bivouac of the dead.
Bivouac Of The Dead, by Theodore O’Hara
Many people do not understand the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day. That’s alright! Don’t be so harsh on them. It is not their fault that they have not been told.
Even coming from a military family, in my early years I thought it was a day to remember all that had passed. Later on, I thought it was a day to honor all military that had passed away. Then came the internet, where all confused people join together, and being one of them I thought it was a day to just honor all in the military past and present. After nearly joining the military myself and then marrying a veteran, the true meaning of Memorial Day was quickly brought to my attention.
“If you are able, save for them a place inside of you and save one backward glance when you are leaving for the places they can no longer go. Be not ashamed to say you loved them, though you may or may not have always. Take what they have left and what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own. And in that time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane, take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind “
Major Michael Davis O’Donell 01JAN70 Dak To, Vietnam
Memorial Day is actually a day to honor all members of the military that passed away while in service, particularly those who died in battle. That is why we often quote, “All gave some; some gave all” (words that were first documented by Howard Osterkamp after the Korean war, but are said to go back further…) on this day.
So if you walked up to a veteran or member of our military today and said, “Happy Memorial Day!”, and then did not receive the reaction you were expecting, this is why.
Here are a few links on the subject:
FAQ about Veterans Day at VA.gov
Memorial Day at VA.gov
Memorial Day on Wikipedia
7 Facts About Memorial Day on Yahoo!
History of Memorial Day on About.com Military History
Lest We Forget: All Gave Some — Some Gave All on Yahoo!
Arlington National Cemetery
In memory of those that gave all… Thank you to each and every one. For truly, our lives would not be what they are today were it not for them.