By Judy Brandon: CNJ religion columnist
Editor’s note: This week’s column is being republished at the request of a reader.
This weekend the nation commemorates Memorial Day.
Gen. John Alexander Logan first thought up the idea to set aside one day to honor Civil War dead. May 30, 1868, was the first Memorial Day to honor those who had died in battle by remembering them and decorating their graves.
When I was a little girl, this holiday around my grandparent’s community in Arkansas was not known as Memorial Day but as “Decoration Day.”
This weekend was a busy time. On Saturday, families would meet and tidy up the church cemetery. They would cut overgrown grass and trim around the headstones. Then they always finished by placing fresh flowers on the graves.
On this Memorial Day, I cannot help but contemplate the sacrifice of those in my family. I have heard about Charlie’s grandfather as a 21-year-old marching across France in World War I. Last year when we viewed the World War II memorial, I saw those pillars to the 50 states and thought of the family members that were touched by the loss of life in World War II. I contemplate my father’s patriotism and his service in World War II in the Army. I listened to stories of the war from my Uncle Keith, who was an infantryman stationed in Italy in World War II.