Sunday, May 26, 2019

Lifting Us Up

Memorial Day began as a day of remembrance for those who perished in the Civil War.  It originally was called "Decoration Day", a term I still remember my grandparents using to refer to the day. That was because the origins dated back to ceremonies where the graves of those who died in battle were decorated with flowers to honor their service and memories.

The late May date was chosen for Decoration Day as that was the time in which most flowers were in full bloom.

Memorial Day started to be used as the name for the holiday in the 1880's but the name did not start to gain popular acceptance until after World War II. It did not officially become "Memorial Day" until Congress declared that the official name in 1967.

I became very aware of its origins and the divide that still existed between North and South when I attended law school at Emory University in Atlanta in the early 1970's. Memorial Day was not even recognized as a holiday at the school and in much of Atlanta at that time.

It originally was celebrated on May 30 of each year which I also remember. The holiday was established as the last Monday in May by an Act of Congress that took effect in 1971. Despite that, my law school classes were still held as usual in 1973 on Memorial Day as if it was any other day. That was a little difficult for a Yankee like me to understand. I recall that it was not until the following year that Georgia fully joined the union in celebrating Memorial Day.

Lest we ever think about forgetting, these are the numbers of Americans who have laid their lives down for our freedom over the years.


I have featured Angela Pan's photography in BeeLine previously. Angela is based in Washington, D.C. and some of her best work features the the monuments and memorials in our capital city. Featuring her photographs has become a BeeLine tradition on Memorial Day.

These images truly honor the men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our freedom through the years.

Vietnam War Memorial
Credit: Angela Pan

Arlington National Cemetery
Credit: Angela Pan

Iwo Jima Memorial
Credit; Angela Pan

We should also not forget that the sacrifices of these men and women have ultimately allowed us to be better in the end. Those losses allowed the rest of us to gain more and achieve more. They have truly lifted us up.

I came across a great example of that this week when I saw this image of the Golden Bridge in Da Nang, Vietnam. The area around the bridge is actually the site of the famous American military base during the Vietnam War. Notice that the hands "holding up" the bridge were apparently carved from stone outcroppings.

Golden Bridge
Da Nang, Vietnam

Here is another image which shows an overview of the bridge. To think that something so magnificent has been built in area today which was so central during the Vietnam War and the death and destruction that accompanied it speaks volumes.

Golden Bridge

I can think of nothing better that represents how those who have sacrificed have lifted the rest of us up.

May we never forget.

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