The first recorded Memorial Day celebration was May 1, 1865 in Charleston South Carolina by former slaves who wished to honor the Union War dead. Decoration Day, as my grandmother called it, was formerly started in 1868 in order to honor the Civil War dead by placing flowers on their graves. The tradition of poppies began with Flanders Field in World War I. Memorial Day was not an official holiday until 1971.
The spirit and meaning of Memorial Day were famously stated by Abraham Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address. The message remains timeless. The immortal words of President Lincoln speak to us loudly even today.
“—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that the government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth.”
Ronald Reagan spoke eloquently of the rows of white crosses in Arlington National Cemetery. He talked of the sacrifice of Martin Treptow who left his job in a barber shop in Wisconsin to serve in the US Army in WWI. He was killed. On his body was found a diary, a portion of which read “My pledge—America must win this war, therefore I will work, save, sacrifice and endure as if the outcome of the struggle depended upon me alone.”
The challenge we are facing today does not require the same type of physical sacrifice that Martin Treptow and countless others endured for the cause of freedom.
Today the radical left seeks to “transform” America into a nation dominated by complete Washington based control of all American life. This threatens to extinguish freedom by placing the political elite and career politicians in charge of the people.
Removing Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House is a necessary, but insufficient task before us. We must boldly claim the moral high ground, define the terms of the national debate and restore the principles and values that made America the envy of the world.
Our challenge is exactly that described by President Lincoln. We must summon the courage to do the right thing, to take our country back from the political elite and create a new birth of freedom, by restoring a government of the people, by the people and for the people.