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Thread: Memorial Day

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    Supporting Member spot's Avatar
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    Memorial Day

    I thought I'd look up what Americans memorialize tomorrow.

    Memorial Day "commemorates the men and women who died while in the military service", according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Public Affairs whatever that may be.

    Assuming the commemoration is of men and women who died while in the military service of the US - though I note the US Government website wording quoted above doesn't make that claim - that's an average of 16 deaths a day of whom half were killed by other armed citizens of the US.

    The ambiguous wording does lead me to a question: Do Americans in general memorialize the war dead of those they fought as well as of their own, on Memorial Day?

    I can't imagine why they wouldn't since the vast number of those who fought on either side will have been conscripts with no choice but to fight, or fighting in support of conscripts who had no choice but to fight, but I suspect not.
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    Proudly humble LarsMac's Avatar
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    Re: Memorial Day

    No sir. We simply honors those who served the US and gave their lives in that service. It is up to the other nations, ally or foe, to honor their own dead in whatever fashion they see fit.

    And we had our share of conscripts though we generally referred to them as "Draftees".

    The origin of Memorial day was to honor those who served on either side, during the War between the States.
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    Re: Memorial Day

    Quote Originally Posted by LarsMac View Post
    The origin of Memorial day was to honor those who served on either side, during the War between the States.
    That's very helpful. You might like to read the Introduction by E F M Feahtz, the Assistant Quartermaster General at Washington in 1870, from https://books.google.com/books?id=hM...%20day&f=false

    The whole book is over a thousand pages, into which I've dipped. State by State, cemetery by cemetery, the events of the previous year's Memorial Day are recorded. It's a Memorial in its own right.
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    Proudly humble LarsMac's Avatar
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    Re: Memorial Day

    Thank you. I had seen that book once, years ago, while at a library in DC.
    Here is another interesting read on the subject. The First Decoration Day Zinn Education Project
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    Re: Memorial Day

    When I was a kid, we called it Decoration Day and we put flowers on the graves of deceased relatives, without regard to whether or not they served in the military.

    It was mainly an opportunity to share some time with living relatives whom we saw only occasionally due to geographical separation. A very nice holiday for everyone.

    Can't imagine why "furners" would try to present it in a negative light!

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    Re: Memorial Day

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Aspam View Post
    Can't imagine why "furners" would try to present it in as negative light!
    Moi??

    I don't believe I did, I thought I'd been entirely respectful while hoping to improve my understanding. And I thought the site would benefit from a Memorial Day thread this year.
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    When the flowers want to oxygen and nutrition, or you’re a wedding or party planner, I will help you too much.
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    Re: Memorial Day

    I don't believe so either and please forgive me for any misunderstanding.

    Do Brits have anything similar?

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    Supporting Member ZAP's Avatar
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    Re: Memorial Day

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Aspam View Post
    When I was a kid, we called it Decoration Day and we put flowers on the graves of deceased relatives, without regard to whether or not they served in the military.

    It was mainly an opportunity to share some time with living relatives whom we saw only occasionally due to geographical separation. A very nice holiday for everyone.

    Can't imagine why "furners" would try to present it in a negative light!
    In Kansas we decorated the graves of all the relatives and my 3 cousins still do. (Among many others.) I mention these 3 because they'll be visiting around 20 cemeteries this weekend, decorating the graves of grandparents, mothers and fathers, brothers & sisters, cousins, etc. Then when I go to Kansas next week, I'll go with them to take the flowers down.

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    Re: Memorial Day

    Lars' extract on the Zinn history website is taken from a chapter at page 94 of https://books.google.com/books?id=V-...ure%22&f=false and the chapter is worth bookmarking too. I'm pleased Professor Blight's essay was brought into the thread, it's impressive background.
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    Who has a spare two minutes to play in this month's FG Trivia game!

    The watch of your vision has become reasonable today.

    It’s normal. You must provoke. You must insult the belief of all monotheists. You must make fun of the belief of all monotheists.
    From the upper tier of the Leppings Lane End of the Hillsborough Stadium, I watched the events of that day unfold with horror.
    When the flowers want to oxygen and nutrition, or you’re a wedding or party planner, I will help you too much.
    Write that word in the blood

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    Senior Member FourPart's Avatar
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    Re: Memorial Day

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    In the U.K. we also have Memorial Day, but although it is primarily those that have fallen whilst serving in the Military, it also honours those who have fallen in the line of duty in other ways for their country & fellow man - such as the Fire Service, Police, Ambulance, Lifeboatmen, etc.

    As far as the phrase "Those who have given their lives" as far as the Military is concerned - particularly during WW2 & later, when conscription was in force, I would question the validity of the phrase, as very few would have 'Given' their lives, rather than had their lives 'Taken' from them, knowing that if they advanced as ordered they MIGHT get shot by the enemy, and if they didn't then they WOULD get shot by their own side. Of course, there were the few who willingly volunteered & even went into situations, knowing that there was little if any likelihood of their returning alive. These are the ones that should truly be revered. This frequently includes the other Civilian forces, as previously mentioned.

    Another Memorial, which is rarely given anywhere near the same amount of publicity is the Memorial Stone to the Conscientious Objectors. These are the ones who stood by their principles, whilst being rebuked by their own people, under the derisive term, "Conchies". Of course there were those who used the ploy to get out of Active Service, but what was less known is that so many of these "Conchies" were simply refusing to take up arms. They did, however, frequently volunteer to go into the front lines as Medics & Ambulance Drivers, in far more hazardous conditions than the majority of the rest of the front line troops. Personally, I find it insulting that this historic stone is rarely recognised in the Memorial Day ceremonies.

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