Memorial Day 2017: What to Know 

click to enlarge BINGO BARNES
  • Bingo Barnes
  • In April 1866, a group of women visited cemeteries in Hardin, Tennessee, to acknowledge the thousands of Confederate soldiers who had fallen in the Battle of Shiloh during the Civil War. The women brought flowers and tended to the neglected graves. In May 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans established Decoration Day, an official to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers. The alternative name of Memorial Day was first used in 1882 but did not become common practice until after World War II, and it wasn't until 1968 that the last Monday in May was formally set aside to remember those who died serving their nation.
  • click to enlarge 123RF
    • 123rf
    It's estimated nearly 11 percent of Idahoans have served in the military (compared to a national average of 7 percent). The Treasure Valley Young Marines spent much of May 27 decorating graves at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery and later today, a formal ceremony involving all branches of the armed services will be held at the cemetery, beginning at 10 a.m. The ceremony will include a flyover and special recognition of Gold Star Families. Meanwhile at noon, the Idaho Civil War Volunteers will conduct their annual Civil War flag-raising ceremony, eulogy and gun salute at the the veterans monument in Morris Hill Cemetery.
  • The Atlantic has a timely story on America's "complicated endeavor" of memorializing wars and remembering sacrifice. James E. Wright explains the terms "monument" and "memorial" are sometimes used interchangeably to describe the many locations across the United States which honor the fallen. But he points to the late philosopher of art, Arthur Danto, who said, "We erect monuments so that we shall always remember, and build memorials so that we shall never forget." Wright says while memorials are indeed a source of remembrance, monuments "seek to celebrate the purpose, the accomplishments, the heroic. They evoke the cause."

  • The Associated Press has a story this morning of how many Americans don't see this holiday weekend as a time to honor the fallen. The AP says veterans groups aren't thrilled with Memorial Day always being a three-day weekend, triggering more leisure and recreation. Instead, veterans say, the holiday should be moved to a specific date in an effort to return to a solemn day of remembrance.

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