The History of Memorial Day
Significance of Memorial Day
Memorial Day formally known as Decoration Day, is a federal holiday observed yearly on the last Monday of May. Memorial Day is a day that commemorates all men and women who have died while serving in the military for the United States of America.
History of Memorial Day
The history of Memorial Day dates back to the American Civil War. It started as an event to honor soldiers who had died during the war. It is said to be inspired by the way people in the Southern states honored the dead. The original national celebration of Deco-ration Day took place on May 30, 1868. There was over twenty four cities and towns across the United States that claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. Waterloo (New York) was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966. In the late 19th century, the holiday (previously known as Decoration Day) became known as Memorial Day and was expanded to include the deceased veterans of all the wars fought by American forces. Originally, the holiday used to be celebrated on May 30, regardless of the day of the week that it fell on. In 1968, the Uniform Holidays Bill was passed and as a result the day changed to last Monday in May.
Traditions of Memorial Day
Traditionally Memorial Day is viewed as a time of honor and remembrance. Throughout the United States it is com-mon to visit cemeteries, particularly military ones, and decorate graves of the deceased with flowers, small flags and wreathes. Other common traditions of Memorial Day that are still practiced today include the raising of the U.S. flag quickly to the tops of flag-poles, slowly lowered to half-mast, and then it is raised again to full height at noon. The lowering of the flag at half-mast is meant to honor the fallen soldiers who have died for their country over the years. While re-raising the flag is meant to symbolize the resolve of the living to carry on the fight for freedom so that the nation's heroes will not have died in vain. On the United States Capitol Building's West Lawn, a Memorial Day concert is held annually and is broadcasted live around the country. Additionally, there are thousands of Memorial Day parades all across the country in cities small and large. Many will wear or put on a display of red poppies on this day as a symbol of fallen soldiers. This tradition grew out of the famous poem by Canadian John McCrae known as ‘In Flander's Fields', where Moina Michael conceived an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war.
By Carolyn Shockey
I always relished this time of year when living in the north. It was so uplifting to see the first crocuses peek through the snow, and the daffodils, hyacinths and tulips would be next. They were such a welcome sight after a long, bitter winter. Even the air seemed renewed and refreshing after being cooped up inside for what seemed like ages. By now most of the country is in the final phase of spring. Seeds and bulbs planted a while back are beginning to germinate, exposing tiny green leaves peeking above the ground. A pretty yard has al-ways been important to me, and through my many moves I had an opportunity to do my share of gardening and planting. With the move to this house I had a clean slate, other than one overgrown tree in serious need of trimming, there was not one flower. Now after a couple of years of planning and planting, I'm really enjoying the plants, and the butter-flies and hummingbirds they attract.
Those seeds planted in prepared fertile soil and nurtured with food, water and sun will grow more abundantly than ones scattered by the wind that fall on rocky areas. While they too may sprout, they aren't able to develop a root system which is adequate enough for a viable healthy plant.
Likewise, we cannot expect an oak tree to grow from anything but an acorn. Carrot seeds won't produce radishes. Each seed from its own kind.
We humans are a part of this evolving development as we plan and grow our life too. Our seeds that we have been born with grow and come to fruition only if we put forth the effort and determination to make it happen. Not pursuing actively or giving half-hearted energy will not produce our goals. Ignoring or digging up the "seeds" to check on their progress will not aid in their viability.
We need to do the same with personal plans for our life. If we can see ourselves as a one of a kind, divinely designed seed of greatness as we turn up in life, then we can begin to focus on just what type of "seed" we are; the idea, vocation, or cause we want to be or develop and/or support in our world. Isn't it amazing that we are so unique that we can be a seed for more than one thing in our lifetime? While and acorn can only produce an oak, we have the ability to produce results of many different seeds or ideas. The results are endless when we give energy and persistence to produce a beautiful and healthy outcome.
There is only one problem: If we ignore or fail to realize our personal seeds as the gifts that they are.
So let's nurture our own seeds to add to the beauty that nature provides us, by showing up, and adding to the beauty
of the planet besides the flowers, trees, and plants that we've put into the ground for our own enjoyment.
Everyone has those days. You're operating in a fog, or perhaps you spaced out on a family member's name in the middle of dinner, or maybe you just find it hard to concentrate on work or hobbies. When these unwanted situations begin to come up more often, you may start to worry. Aging has long been associated with a slow mental decline.
The good news is there are simple things you can do to clear the cobwebs and regain your focus. Dr. Mike Dow, a psychotherapist and best-selling author, says we often don't realize the brain is just like the heart, our muscles, our lungs and bones - it needs maintenance, and healthy habits to help keep it working at its very best.
"People understand pretty well that if they eat healthy, quit smoking and start exercising, they can improve their cardiovascular health," Dow says. "But they don't always connect the dots of living a healthy lifestyle to improving cognitive health."
To help you reach your optimal brain health, Dow offers these every-day tips.
Give yourself a daily challenge
If you catch yourself in a rut or locked in your routine, it may be time to find ways to stretch your mind mus-cles with a new and challenging activity. Researchers have discovered that healthy brains need certain levels of reserves, and challenging them is one way to build those reserves.
"Think of your brain like a bank account," Dow says. "Every time you learn something new, or play a chal-lenging game or read a book, it's like depositing a dollar into that account. The more cash deposits you make, the more you have to spare."
Feed your brain
Like other parts of the body, the brain needs food and nutrients, and the right food can go a long way to support brain health. An antioxidant-rich diet including things like unsweetened tea, berries and turmeric can protect the brain from damage that comes from aging and oxidative stress.
Dow also recommends taking a supplement like Natrol Cognium. It contains a unique silk protein that's been shown in human clinical studies to protect the brain from oxidative stress. The studies also show that it improves memory and concentration by increasing blood flow and nutrition to the brain. If you're interested in learning more about the benefits of Natrol Cognium, visit natrol.com/benefits/brain-health/.
Tend to your relationships
As life and circumstances bring inevitable changes, the number of people we count as friends and loved ones can change over the years. It takes effort, but Dow says it's important to try to maintain our relationships and be open to creating new ones, be-cause they can have a profound effect on brain health.
"Relationships tend to buffer us from the stress of daily life, which is good because over time, excess stress can cause inflammation," Dow says. "At the same time, good, healthy relationships give our lives meaning."
To meet new people, try simple things like inviting a neighbor over for dessert, joining a book club or volunteering for a nonprofit or cause that's important to you.
Get enough sleep
We often short ourselves on sleep when life gets busy, but it's important to make it a priority, Dow says.
"Think of nighttime sleep as a wash-and-rinse cycle that clears away the 'bad stuff ' that builds up during the day," Dow says. "Brain fog and dementia-causing plaques are washed away by cerebrospinal fluid, and this process is more effective when you're sleeping."
Dow recommends practicing healthy sleep habits, such as striving for eight hours each night, being consistent with your bedtime routine and using melatonin instead of prescription and over-the-counter sleep aids to help you drift off.
A Mother's Day Tribute
By Elizabeth Lloyd
There once was a lady named Kay who liked to do things her way. Her parties were grand decorations made by hand
good cooking finished the day.
At any time you could see
grand children by her knee. Often she has said it
"I give my family credit
for filling my life with glee!"
Elizabeth Lloyd (a.k.a.) Betsy was born in Phila. Pa. and has two adult sons. As a teenager, she typed poems and short stories for her friends. She attended Holy Family University for a short time, leaving to help her husband in his business. In Florida she found an exercise class at Elfers Center. She met many people there, who told her interesting details about the states from which they gravitated. Volunteering gives her a feeling of paying back and she hopes to do more in the future. Her favorite trips were England, Italy and the Panama Canal.
If you wish to submit a poem to the Sr. Voice, please email to email@example.com