By Paula Mitchell
The date of Decoration Day, as general John A. Logan, the commander-in-chief of the Union veterans called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle. That was May 1868. Every family has been touched by a soldier’s death…a soldier who fought for every American’s freedom and liberty.
The ancient Greeks and Romans held annual days of remembrance for loved ones each year, festooning the graves with flowers and holding public festivals in their honor. In Athens, public funerals were held for fallen soldiers after each battle.
Even before the Civil War ended, women’s groups in the south were gathering informally to decorate the graves of the fallen. In time, this became known as “Decoration Day.” By 1890, every former state of the Union had adopted it as an official holiday. But for more than 50 years, the holiday was used to commemorate just those fallen in the Civil War. It wasn’t until America’s entry into World War 1 that this tradition expanded to include the fallen in every war.
In 1968, the last Monday in May became known as the traditional observance for Memorial Day. Red poppies have become a symbol of remembrance to wear. The sight of the bright red poppies against the dreary backdrop of war inspired McCrae to pen the poem, “In Flanders Field.” Many a school child learned this poem and could recite it by memory. In the poem, the soldiers who had been killed in battle and lay buried beneath the poppy-covered grounds were given a voice.
As is tradition, all Americans are encouraged to pause for a National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. local time. The Sugar Grove VFW Post 9666 will be commemorating this holiday with the celebration at noon on Monday at the VFW Park in Sugar Grove.
Life’s little instructions for this Memorial Day include the following:
- Count one’s blessings.
- Put flowers on a soldier’s grave.
- Be there when people need one.
- Say “thank you” a lot.
- Leave everything a little better than one found it.
A week of summer heat has hit the Sugar Grove community. Temperatures were noted on Saturday to be in the 90s. Thunderstorms brought down the temperatures to at least bearable on Sunday. The rest of the week appears to be engaged with showers and a little cooler. This makes for difficult decisions for the hay making farmers.
Quotes for the week are as follows:
“The single essential ingredient of good manners is a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others.” — Emily Yost
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter the words, but to live by them” — John F. Kennedy
“Home of the free because of the brave.” — Unknown
“Our nation owes a debt to its fallen heroes that we can never fully repay.” — Barack Obama
“Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it.” — Unknown.
Sitting on the front porch to hear the “Talk of the Grove” is where one would like to be.
Willard and Judy Rader were visitors Saturday in the home of Benny and Linda Custer of Verona, Virginia. They enjoyed a dinner together at Edelweiss German Restaurant in Staunton, Virginia.
Mushroom hunting is a coveted secret for the Sugar Grove hunters. Eugene Varner lucked out with a champion mushroom that sure made for a tasty meal.
Graduates are excitedly embracing the world’s challenges. May they be a determined lot who are willing to work hard in the “daily grind!” Congratulations to all of them!
Many folks have realized that part of the beauty of a home is the outside landscaping. The writer enjoys seeing flowers in manicured yards, which attract the birds, including the hummingbirds.
Monika Flippin has been sighting clusters of lady slippers where she lives at “The Clip.” They are a lovely, dainty flower to behold.
Charles and Pidge Anderson had Kirk Adams from Head Waters, Virginia, Rastas Moats from Moatstown, Richard Benka from Alabama, Karen Moats from Woodstock, Virginia, and Odell Lambert and Lorie Lambert from Sugar Grove visiting them. They really enjoyed seeing all of these friends.
Wes, Becky, Ben, Emma and Nathan Puffenbarger spent the weekend at Deep Creek Lake in Maryland. They enjoyed boating, go-cart racing and kayaking.
Evelyn Varner motored to McGaheysville, Virginia, to spend Wednesday night with her daughter, Joyce Marshall, and family. While there, she enjoyed her grandson’s, Richard’s, FFA banquet. Richard is a junior at Spotswood High School.
Clickety-clacks for the chin wagers are as follows:
- Ida Stover Eisenhower’s birthplace was near Fort Defiance, Virginia. This was President Eisenhower’s mother.
- Mr. and Mrs. James Simmons near Doe Hill, Virginia, had a son who weighed 18.5 pounds and measured 24 inches at birth. The championship baby was born Jan.10, 1916.
- In May 1868, General John A. Logan, the commander-in-chief of the Union veterans’ group, issued a decree that May 30 should become a nationwide day of commemoration for those lost in the Civil War.
- America embraced the notion of “Decoration Day,” but it wasn’t until 1971 that Memorial Day became a federal holiday.
- Waterloo, New York, was declared the official birthplace of Memorial Day.
Up-coming June birthdays are as follows: Geneva Varner, first; Mary Frances Wadsworth, Bryan Simmons and Linda T. Rexrode, second; Karen Pitsenbarger, third; Carolyn Sponaugle, fourth; Diana Mitchell and Dale Wilfong, sixth; Kaisley Kiser and Bryard Mitts, eighth; Marsha Keller, ninth; Breeana Roberts, Paden Rightsell and Mike Armstrong, 10th; Jayden Roberson and Eddie Rexrode, 11th; Kelly Hartman, Ed Keller, Carolyn Wilfong and Rev. Stanley Kile, 12th; Betty Gail Hartman, 13th; and Johnny Rexrode, 14th.
Concerns for this week are many, and they are as follows: Charles Anderson, Bill Brackman, Scherry Chambers, Charlotte Copley, Jeff Craig, Jeff Evick, Lee Roy and Ina Evick, Mary Eye, Ron Gilkeson, Lola Graham, Marlene Harman, Ramona Harman, the Effie Harr family, Steve and Armanda Heavner, Starr Hedrick, Rose Hinkle, Virgil Homan, Jr., Charlie Marie Hoover, Lorena Hoover, Myrtle Hoover, Debbie Horst, Alice Johnson, Richard Judy, Margaret Kiser, Rex Landis, Angela Lung, Linda Malcolm, Roger and Skip Mallow, Yvonne Marsh, Neil McLaughlin, Naomi Michael, Joe Moats, Lincoln Moore, Ernie Morgan, Kathy Nelson, Ken and Ruth Nelson, Bennie Nesselrodt, Betty Hoover O’Donnell, Cheryl Paine, Sutton Parrack, Betty Lou Propst, Kara Propst, Linda Propst, Nathan Propst, Sheldon Propst, Pam Rexrode, Donna Ruddle, Barbara Simmons, Erin Simmons, Eva Simmons, Charlie Sites, Ona Smith, Stanna Smith, Steve Smith, Berlie Sponaugle, Patricia Swecker, the Harry Lee Temple family, Rosa Tichenor, Sandra Vandevander, Jack Vogel, Amby Waybright, Jr., Ron White, Judy Williams, Junior Wimer, Larry Wimer, Carol Windett and the people of Ukraine.