Memorial Day Musings 2017

This coming Monday we celebrate Memorial Day, a federal holiday that was originally called Decoration Day and traditionally marks the beginning of summer. A day to remember those who died in military service for our country.

Memorial Day began as a way to remember and honor both Union and Confederate soldiers who were killed in battle during the Civil War. In 1868 the 30th of May was officially proclaimed as the day to decorate their graves. After WWI Memorial Day was extended to honor Americans who died in all wars. Today most Americans use this holiday as a time to decorate grave sites, whether the deceased served in the military or not.

On display this weekend at Willshire Home Furnishings. (2015 photo by Karen)

Memorial Day was declared a U.S. federal holiday in 1971 and is now observed the last Monday in May. In December 2000 the National Moment of Remembrance resolution was passed, which asks all Americans to pause at 3:00 p.m. local time and reflect on the meaning of Memorial Day.

Remember to observe proper flag etiquette on Memorial Day: The American flag should be flown at half-staff until noon and then raised to full-staff. During a parade there may be several participants with a flag and it is appropriate to salute only the first flag as it passes by. As the first flag passes everyone should show respect by standing at attention with their right hand over their heart. Those in uniform should give their appropriate formal salute.

Resthaven Memory Gardens, Auglaize County, Ohio. (2014 by Karen)

Most area towns have a Memorial Day ceremony at local cemetery, conducted by the local American Legion and/or VFW. They also mark all veterans’ graves with an American flag. A big Thank You to those volunteers.

Willshire Home Furnishings will have a display of over 160 military uniforms, photos, flags, maps, and letters of local servicemen all weekend and Memorial Day (9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday). It is a wonderful display and well worth a visit. My dad’s photo and Army jacket will be on display there.

Some things to do on Memorial Day:

Take time to reflect on the meaning of Memorial Day and the sacrifices made for our freedom

Attend a Memorial Day Service at a local cemetery or park

Attend a local Memorial Day parade

Fly the American flag

Visit the Memorial Day Celebration museum at Willshire Home Furnishings

Visit a cemetery and decorate a grave with flowers

Vast array of uniforms, photos, and other items on display at Willshire Home Furnishings. (2015 photo by Karen)

Memorial Day Celebration at Willshire Home Furnishings. (2015 photo by Karen)

We drove through Chatt yesterday as we were driving around the countryside looking at the flooding after Wednesday night’s big storm. Kudos to those who put the American flags on the power poles in the village. They really look nice and are a great patriotic touch for town.

Currently I am doing some memorial-type research at the request of Martin Hubert, president of the Memorial History Society in Alsace, France. He is seeking information about two area WWI soldiers who were among 50 soldiers killed in action on 29 September 1918 in his village of Linthal, France, in the Vogesian Mountains. The soldiers were buried in the military cemetery of Oberlauchenand and both men have monuments in local cemeteries.

Hubert is researching all 50 soldiers and is keeping their memories alive by honoring them at a commemoration and memorial ceremony in Linthal next year, one hundred years after their deaths. The two soldiers from this area are Private August H. Froning and Private Glenn Homer Nichols.

Private August Froning was born 30 June 1892 in Sebastian, Mercer County, Ohio, the son of Herman and Catherine Froning.

Private Glenn Nichols was born on 16 February 1890 in Center Township, Mercer County, Ohio, the son of James Collins and Lilly (Rice) Nichols.

I have located a nephew of each soldier and have contacted one about this upcoming event to honor his ancestor.

What a wonderful thing Hubert is doing to honor these soldiers.

Elm Grove Cemetery, St. Marys, Auglaize County, Ohio (2013 photo by Karen)

And finally, what is it about rain and patriotic holidays? A few years ago we had 13 inches of rain over several days that included the Fourth of July. This past Wednesday night we had at least 5 inches of rain. Our basement didn’t take on water when we had the 13 inches of rain but it did Wednesday night.

The rain came down so hard and fast that it poured in the basement windows. It wasn’t much fun cleaning the basement up and drying it out but it could have been worse. We mainly had large puddles of water which would have been much larger had the area rugs not soaked up much of the water. We were up until 4:00 a.m. that night moving things to dry places, vacuuming and mopping up water, and carrying heavy water-soaked rugs upstairs and draping them over the truck. What else could we do with them?

But it could have been so much worse. The rain did stop. We had power the whole night and the sump pump continued to run. Our basement wasn’t flooded–we just had those big puddles. We don’t have wall-to-wall carpet—we were able to carry out the wet area rugs and they will eventually dry out. I know many others had much more damage in their homes and basements and it is so sad to see all the flooded fields, knowing the farmers will have to do a lot of replanting.

Have a nice Memorial Day weekend, everyone, and take some time to remember those who have served our country.

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