May 26

Observing Memorial Day

flag-memorial-dayMemorial Day, originally known as “decoration day” began on the 5th of May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11 which said:

“The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.”

It was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

In more recent observance, the Memorial Day weekend tends to be more about a day off to BBQ and play than recognizing the sacrifices of our war dead. Certainly, the children in residence look forward to a day off from school and staff and children alike know that summer is just around the corner. Summer’s activities include hiking, fishing, and camping trips in the beauty of God’s creation… so, it is easy to see why this focus has captured most hearts and minds.

Is our Memorial Day celebration more about "fun in the sun" than it is remembering the sacrificial love of others?

Can our Memorial Day celebration be more than just “fun in the sun” as we remember the sacrificial love of others?

Still, it would be my hope that we could recall the words of Jesus, when alluding to his own sacrifice, he taught his followers saying: “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13).

Whether literally taken, as in the instance of those we remember on Memorial Day, or the figurative “laying down” of one’s life for the benefit and good of another, there is room amidst all the fun in the warm (nearly) summer weather to give thanks for those that love so sacrificially.

Blessings to you, Intermountain’s faithful supporters, for the sacrifices you have made to improve the lives of the children and families in our care.

Chaplain Chris Haughee