Memorial (Decoration) Day no holiday for scams

Today few people know about “Decoration Day.” In 1866, women of the south decorated the grave sites of men and women that died during the Civil War.

Several cities, towns, and communities claimed to be the birthplace, but no evidence can be found to pinpoint to beginning of Decoration Day.

Gen. John A. Logan, National Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, wrote his General Order No. 11 on May 5, 1868 proclaiming Memorial Day.

The first Memorial Day was observed on May 30, 1868 when flowers were placed on the graves in Arlington National Cemetery of soldiers of the North and the South.

This was a sign of unity rather than division. Pulling the nation together under one f lag which heals the wounds of its past.

In 1873 New York was the first state to recognize Memorial Day and 17 years later all northern states recognized the need to respect those that had paid the supreme sacrifice for our country.

The South honored its heroes on a different day until World War I. In 1966, Texas-born president Lyndon Baines Johnson officially set Waterloo, New York as the birthplace of Memorial Day

The poem “In Flanders Field” inspired Moina Michael to write a poem of her own which included the words about red poppies. It connected with the blood of the soldiers and the valor these fighters displayed.

In 1915, Michael was the first to wear the red poppy plus she sold them to raise money for the veterans in need.

In 1921 Madame Guerin took the idea to France and Belgium to raise money for wounded veterans, widows, and orphans. Guerin is credited with selling the first artificial poppies.

Guerin’s organization disbanded the next year, but the concept lived on.

In 1922, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) was the first veteran organization to sell artificial poppies made by disabled veterans

Just two years later, (1924) in the “Buddy” Poppy Program began

In 1948 the United States Postal Service printed a red 3 cent stamp with Michael’s likeness for starting the National Poppy movement.

In the 1950’s the Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, and Girl Scouts became involved in the Memorial Day activities.

The National Holiday Act, 1971, declared Memorial Day on the last Monday in May which gave many workers a three-day holiday.

This may have detracted us from the true meaning of honoring men and women that gave their lives so we could enjoy the freedoms now enjoyed today.

There is a dark side because veterans and their family and friends are targeted for scams.

Men and women claiming to represent the Veterans Administration or recruiters in the military seeking personal data are clever and very successful in stealing identities from the elderly that have served our nation honorably.

If you have doubts, contact the “Center for Elder Veteran Rights.

You are encouraged to report scam attempts to the local authorities and go online to to file a complaint.

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2012-05-31 digital edition

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