Grumpy Old Ganz


Memorial Day

I am aware that Memorial Day/Decoration Day has come and gone. I waited to write this column until after I had attended a local community service.

After attending the Memorial Day service, I walked away embarrassed, ashamed, and heartbroken by the utter lack of support for those who have fallen in battle since the Civil War. It was that very war that the famous “Gettysburg Address” was given which established the tradition to honor “all” who have died in this nation’s wars, up to and including the Iraq/Afghanistan war which has spanned 20 years.

With a mere 25 people in attendance on this day to remember, reflect, honor, and celebrate, I was deeply upset that more people didn’t take 15 minutes out of their day, vacation time or whatever to attend this service or any of the other scheduled community events.

While the Parade of Honors was played, each member stood for their branch of service. I noticed one man stand during the Marine Corp Hymn. After the service, I walked over to shake his hand as a fellow Marine only to find out he stood to represent the Marine Corp with no others in attendance. That gentleman has my deepest respect for his generous gesture of support.

As people were putting out flags and decorating gravesites and cities like Chicago and New York held parades honoring the fallen, I was drawn to the words of the “Gettysburg Address”.

On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address, at the official dedication of the National Cemetery of Gettysburg, on one of the bloodiest battlefields of the Civil War.

Though he used principles contained in the Declaration of Independence he also connected it with the sacrifices of the Civil War.

His speech was less than two minutes long and less than 275 words. Maybe if you can spare a couple of minutes in your busy day and read the speech, the words might remind you, as it did me, as to why this special day is called “Memorial Day”.

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