At a Veteran's
Day ceremony in November 1985 at Arlington Cemetery in Virginia,
then-President Ronald Reagan offered these words of praise
"It is, in a way, an odd thing to honor
those who died in defense of our country in wars far away.
The imagination plays a trick. We see these soldiers in
our minds as old and wise. We see them as something like
the Founding Fathers, grave and gray-haired. But most of
them were boys when they died.
gave up two lives -- the one they were living and the one
they would have lived. When they died, they gave up their
chance to be husbands and fathers and grandfathers. They
gave up their chance to be revered old men. They gave up
everything for their country, for us. All
we can do is remember."
was officially proclaimed on 5
May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander
of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General
Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868,
when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and
Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.
The first state to officially recognize the holiday
was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by
all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge
the day, honoring their dead on separate days until
after World War I (when the holiday changed
from honoring just those who died fighting in the
Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting
in any war). It is now celebrated in almost
every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress
with the National Holiday Act, P.L. 90 - 363, in 1971
to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays),
though several southern states have an additional
separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead:
January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida,
Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina;
and June 3 (Jefferson Davis' birthday) in Louisiana
1915, inspired by the poem "In Flanders Fields,"
Moina Michael replied with her own poem:
cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies."
Armed Females of America
2702 E. University
Ste. 103 PMB 213
Mesa, AZ 85213