The Curries

The Curries
Keith and Patricia

Monday, May 31, 2010

Thoughts on Memorial Day

Do you have a Memorial Day tradition? Should you? What is it all about?

We are not just launching summer fun; we are celebrating something deep and foundational. We are being asked to have a moment of silence at 3:00 p.m. on Memorial Day to remember those who have given their lives to protect our freedoms.

Silence is not enough. Our children cannot benefit from our silence. When you gather to eat, perhaps your celebration could include these short ideas as part of the blessing of the meal. Here are some thoughts that include the history of Memorial Day as well as the Gettysburg Address (only 276 words). We believe that our gatherings can be enriched by our efforts.

The roots of Memorial Day go back to the Civil War. Over 600,000 soldiers died in that conflict affecting every town, village, and family in the United States. After the war ended, almost everyone would travel and decorate the graves of those who had given their lives. “Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic and was first observed on 30 May 1868.” (

To date, including all the wars our country has fought, over 1.2 million Americans have died in defense of the freedoms that we enjoy.

The Gettysburg Address delivered by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 was to commemorate those who died on that particular battlefield. Although it was written a few years before Memorial Day was established, it expresses best what Memorial Day represents.


Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth
 on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and
 dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

  Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing
 whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so
 dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-
field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of
 that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave
 their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether
 fitting and proper that we should do this.

  But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate…we cannot
 consecrate…we cannot hallow…this ground. The brave men,
 living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it
 far above our poor power to add or detract. The world
 will little note nor long remember what we say here, but
 it can never forget what they did here.
It is for us, the  living, rather, 
to be dedicated here to the unfinished
 work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly
 advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the
 great task remaining before us…that from these honored
 dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which
 they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here
 highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain;
 that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of
 freedom; and that government of the people, by the people,
 for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

November 19, 1863