Saturday, May 28, 2016

Memorial Day

There are some conflicting stories about who exactly was responsible for the first Memorial Day which was called Decoration Day in 1868.  Some accounts have pinned it to some Union soldiers who first decorated war dead graves in Decatur, IL.  Others point to the popularity of the custom after Abraham Lincoln's assassination in 1865.  The Confederate War offered many choices for burial and subsequent decoration as it cost 600,000 soldiers' lives. 

There are two great racing events on the Sunday before the Monday remembrance.  The Indy 500 started in 1911, followed not so quickly by the NASCAR 600 in 1961.  In fact, Memorial Day wasn't an official (pompous throat clearing) holiday until 1971.
This polite confusion (ladies at 10 paces with folded, pointy umbrellas) simply points out the truth of the adage "Success has many fathers; failure is an orphan." 

The proper flag treatment is to raise it at dawn (or whenever you get up) and immediately lower it to half past.  At noon, go out and raise it to the top as usual. 

We are not very far from a cemetery and during this weekend I like to drive past it and see all of the flags.  It is not a military cemetery, but every grave gets a flag or so it appears.  The tiny flags, waving gaily, are such a contrast to the reason that they are there that it can cause deep reflection on wars and there sometimes dubious necessity. 

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