Maxine Dillahunty, PVRW Americanism Chair
Although this is technically the June Newsletter, it will arrive in May and well before MEMORIAL DAY which is Monday, May 31st. Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who died while in the military service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. The purpose of Memorial Day is to memorialize the veterans who made that ULTIMATE SACRIFICE.
The specific origin of Memorial Day or Decoration Day, as it was first known, is unclear. After the Civil War, America’s need for a secular, patriotic ceremony to honor its military dead became prominent, as monuments to fallen soldiers were erected and dedicated, and ceremonies centering on the decoration of soldiers’ graves were held in cities and towns throughout the nation. After World War I, the day expanded to honor those who died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day became a national holiday by an act of Congress: it is now celebrated annually on the last Monday in May.
Memorial Day Services may be attended in Prescott at the Historic Citizens Cemetery, 815 Sheldon St from 9am – 10am.
Guest speaker will be the Honorable Ken Bennett.
Period costume is permitted.
WHY IS THE POPPY A SYMBOL OF MEMORIAL DAY?
In the war-torn battlefields of Europe, the common red field poppy was one of the first plants to reappear. Its seeds scattered in the wind and sat dormant in the ground, only germinating when the ground was disturbed, as it was by the very brutal fighting of World War 1. In 1915, John McCrae, a Canadian soldier and physician, witnessed the war first hand and was inspired to write the now famous poem “In Flanders Fields”. He saw the poppies scattered throughout the battlefield surrounding his artillery position in Belgium.
IN FLANDERS FIELDS
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up your quarrel with the foe:
To you from falling hand we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
(Proper flag etiquette for Memorial Day is to fly your American Flags at
half staff until noon to honor our fallen heroes and then raise the flag to full height until sunset)