Memorial Day is a long-standing tradition to honor and remember those who served in our military and gave their lives in defense of this great nation. You are invited to attend Simpsonville’s Memorial Day ceremony on Monday, May 31st at 11:00 AM, at Veterans Corner.
We’re going to have a marvelous keynote speaker. Doctor Leon Buffaloe, of Grace Internal Medicine, served as a U.S. Army nurse in Iraq. There he met his wife to be, Asante, also an Army nurse. After caring for their fellow soldiers, they both went on to get their medical degrees and now work as physicians caring for us here in the Upstate. Their journey, their service, is a remarkable story, and I hope you will come to hear them speak for our commemoration of Memorial Day.
The origins of the observance of Memorial Day are a little murky. Many places around the country claim they were the ones to originate it over 150 years ago. There is a very early credible claim for Charleston, having one of the earliest mentions of a Memorial Day ceremony in Charleston newspapers in 1865. In 1868, General John A. Logan issued a proclamation for an observance. Across large parts of the country, we began observing Decoration Day. Some cities can trace their Memorial Day and Decoration Day observances all the way back to then.
After General Logan’s call for a national observance, the country settled on May 30th as the official day to honor our dead and mourn our lost. In 1968, Congress made Memorial Day the official name and in 1971 the day of observance was changed to the last Monday in May. Even recently, the VFW has been critical of this change, saying that moving the observance simply to make a three-day weekend has led to casual nonchalance towards the observance by most Americans. It’s not just the first day of summer, we as a people must never be nonchalant about what this day means. This coming Monday, when you raise your flag in the morning, do so briskly to the peak of your flagpole. Then solemnly lower it to half-staff. It should remain so until noon, when it is raised back to the peak to remind us of those who still serve to protect our way of life.
I look forward to seeing you at Veterans Corner this coming Monday. We must always remember and honor those who gave their lives to protect our freedoms.■