Memorial Day

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Memorial Day, Boston by Henry Sandham

Memorial Day (previously known as Decoration Day) is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering and honoring the military personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.


  • The bugle echoes shrill and sweet,
    But not of war it sings to-day.
    The road is rhythmic with the feet
    ⁠Of men-at-arms who come to pray.

    The roses blossom white and red
    ⁠On tombs where weary soldiers lie;
    Flags wave above the honored dead
    ⁠And martial music cleaves the sky.

    Above their wreath-strewn graves we kneel,
    ⁠They kept the faith and fought the fight.
    Through flying lead and crimson steel
    ⁠They plunged for Freedom and the Righteousness.

    May we, their grateful children, learn
    ⁠Their strength, who lie beneath this sod,
    Who went through fire and death to earn
    ⁠At last the accolade of God.

    In shining rank on rank arrayed
    They march, the legions of the Lord;
    He is their Captain unafraid,
    The Prince of Peace . . . Who brought a sword.

    • Joyce Kilmer, Memorial Day; this poem was later published in The Army and Navy Hymnal (1920)
  • Out of the blood of a conflict fraternal,
    ⁠Out of the dust and the dimness of death,
    Burst into blossoms of glory eternal
    ⁠Flowers that sweeten the world with their breath.
    Flowers of charity, peace, and devotion
    ⁠Bloom in the hearts that are empty of strife;
    Love that is boundless and broad as the ocean
    ⁠Leaps into beauty and fulness of life.
    So, with the singing of pæans and chorals,
    ⁠And with the flag flashing high in the sun,
    Place on the graves of our heroes the laurels
    ⁠Which their unfaltering valor has won!
  • Memorial Day has the tendency to conjure up old arguments about the Civil War. That’s understandable; it was created to mourn the dead of a war in which the Union was nearly destroyed, when half the country rose up in rebellion in defense of slavery.
    • Adam Serwer, The Cruelty Is the Point: The Past, Present, and Future of Trump's America (2021)

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