From Decoration Day to Memorial Day

by Crane-Station

Rose, Iceberg (Schneewittchen)
By Yoko Nekonomania (Flickr: Rose, Iceberg (Schneewittchen)) [CC-BY-2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Letty Owings, age 89 shares:

When WWII came along, WWI was not very far off, because 1918 is not that far from 1941. When we were kids, WWI vets were still young, and we also reflected on the Civil War. In those days, it was very real, and then with the full mobilization of WWII, where we had limited goods and services with the war effort, it was very real, and the day that we now know as Memorial Day was a serious time.

Peonies were the flower because the United States began flowering at that time. People wore a rose. A red rose stood for someone who was still alive, and you wore a white rose, if you lost someone. People could look at the rose you were wearing, and know. People would decorate and maintain the graves during the 1930s, and put whatever they had, including roses, or peonies or other things. We called it Decoration Day, and if you went to a graveyard on Decoration Day, there was not a grave that was not decorated.

We have departed. We have departed to the point where veterans are out of sight and out of mind. You call the doctor and your appointment has been cancelled. You get to an appointment and you have to wait. When a man has been called to give of himself he should not be treated this way. Memorial day was a serious time, and a time for reflection and pause.

It was not like it is today. If we are fighting our wars out of sight and out of mind, and killing some here and some there for money, in Afganistan, or Iraq, and no one knows why or where, our veterans are similarly segregated on return, and relegated to out of sight, and out of mind. Back then Memorial Day was not about that the mall had a sale that day, or you went somewhere, of you counted the number of days off you had. It was based on a seriousness and a pause- like my Uncle Henry, who pulled himself around, paralyzed.

During WWII there was the wait, for the telegram. But today, we segregate the veterans, and no one cares.

Five days prior to Memorial Day in 2011, Jonathan Montana, a 65-year-old veteran, was waiting for his dialysis in the ER area of the VA Hospital in Loma Linda, California. He had a surgically implanted shunt in his arm, for the procedure. The hospital had established access with a needle for the dialysis, and he and his wife were waiting. After four hours, Jonathan became tired and decided to leave and go to the VA in Long Beach, CA for the procedure. He told his wife to get the car.

While she was gone, he informed nursing staff that he was leaving, and that he wanted to keep the established access site in place, so the VAMC Long Beach would not have to start over. The nursing staff called the VA police. The VA police arrived, tackled Jonathan to the floor and stomped and beat him. They stomped on Jonathan’s carotid artery, dissecting it, and causing Jonatahan to have a massive hemorrhagic stroke. His wife became concerned, waiting in the parking lot. She went inside. The ER staff told her that her husband had had a stroke. They did not mention that he had been attacked. Jonathan died in June, 2011.

On Mother’s Day of this year, just a couple of weeks before Memorial Day, Iraq and Afganistan Veteran Tommy Yancy, was pulled over for not having a front license plate. Five California Highway Patrol officers beat Tommy Yancy to death in the street while stunned onlookers filmed the horrific event on a cell phone while commenting, “too much excessive force” and “not resisting.”

How our veterans are treated today would have been unimaginable in days past. Everything has changed.

We have departed.

6 Responses to From Decoration Day to Memorial Day

  1. towerflower says:

    Malisha, the 2A wasn’t created solely for protection of our borders. When we started the fight for our freedom back in the 1700s we were British citizens who also had a military, in fact, Britain had what was considered the best military and Navy in the world.

    Tench Coxe wrote in 1788:

    “Who are the militia? are they not ourselves. Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American…The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.”

    Alexander Hamilton in 1788 wrote:
    “If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual State. In a single State, if the persons intrusted with supreme power become usurpers, the different parcels, subdivisions, or districts of which it consists, having no distinct government in each, can take no regular measures for defense. The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair.”

    The militia (people of the US) is the ultimate check against a state or the national government. Our founding fathers knew that power corrupts. The 2nd A is a check/self defense to that if our government tried to become a tyrannical power. It was created not solely for the defense of our country from enemies outside of our borders but to protect us from the government itself.

  2. Malisha says:

    Sorry this is OT: I was thinking about the post (it wouldn’t accept comments) updating the Rodger case and explaining Stevens’ take on the 2nd amendment, and from there I pondered the second amendment. You know something? A well-regulated militia is NO LONGER NECESSARY to us at all. We have a standing Army, a world-class Navy, marines, air force, Oceanic cartographers, the Public Health Service, the CIA, drones and phones. We do not NEED militias any more, although the Chief Executive of Westchester County certainly did enjoy his pretty uniform in 1990.

  3. shyloh says:

    We just had a memorial for my husband’s brother who was a vet. It was wonderful . When they brought out the flag to be unfolded then folded there was not a dry eye. They did a wonderful job. Jack served his country well. It is a day to remember them and to be thankful for what they have done for us. Some lived, some died. They deserve to be treated with the greatest respect ever. Your post is well spoken!

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