Praise the Lord, who is my rock. He trains my hands for war and gives my fingers skill for battle. He is my loving ally and my fortress, my tower of safety, my rescuer. He is my shield, and I take refuge in him. Psalm 144:1-2
That we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. – Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, 1863
Precious Heavenly Father,
As Americans pause today to remember those in the military who have given their lives for the freedom we enjoy, we pray You would remind us to look to You for strength, comfort and guidance. Be close to all who serve in our Armed Forces. Bless them and their loved ones. Grant them with Your loving protection and let peace prevail among the nations, O God. Let Your mercy rest upon our land, even as we acknowledge with thanksgiving Your blessings on America in the past. We pray Your perfect will be done in all our lives, and that our men and women in uniform be protected by Your Almighty hand. We pray You turn both military and civilian hearts to Your holy Word where true peace for sinful souls exceeds all human understanding. May we repent of sin and walk so closely to You, Lord, and find Your saving grace on a daily basis. It’s in the matchless name of Jesus, our Savior and Your beloved Son, who alone gives this peace and hope for eternity, we pray,
Customs surrounding Memorial Day have changed so much since it began back during the Civil War. For starters, it was first known as Decoration Day and was not always observed on the last Monday of May. We should try to keep some decorum though, I believe. Our society has become so casual – and we need to know the “do’s and don’ts” about Memorial Day.
General Orders No. 11 stated that “in this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed,” but over time several customs and symbols became associated with the holiday.
• It is customary on Memorial Day to fly the flag at half-staff until noon, and then raise it to the top of the staff until sunset.
• Taps, the 24-note bugle call, is played at all military funerals and memorial services. It originated in 1862 when Union Gen. Dan Butterfield “grew tired of the ‘lights out’ call sounded at the end of each day,” according to The Washington Post. Together with the brigade bugler, Butterfield made some changes to the tune.
Not long after, the melody was used at a burial for the first time when a battery commander ordered it played in lieu of the customary three rifle volleys over the grave. The battery was so close to enemy lines, and the commander was worried the shots would spark renewed fighting.
• The World War I poem “In Flanders Fields,” by John McCrea, inspired the Memorial Day custom of wearing red artificial poppies. In 1915, a Georgia teacher and volunteer war worker named Moina Michael began a campaign to make the poppy a symbol of tribute to veterans and for “keeping the faith with all who died.” The sale of poppies has supported the work of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
I have to admit, I did not know about the poppies. It’s important that we learn about customs so we can keep them alive. 🙂