Historical Memorial Day

29th May, 2023

Memorial Day.

What does it mean, in these modern times? An extra day off, the beginning of summer, a picnic, a barbecue, sales.

Yes, let us not forget the sales.

Let us not forget the dead!


We should never forget those who died protecting our way of life.

With each generation, we are further removed from those dreadful world wars and memories fade.

But war itself goes on, even though they aren’t always even acknowledged as such.

To die in a “police action” or an unpopular war, or a war of short duration does not make the dead less dead, or less honourable.

What about the enemy dead?

They were doing their duty too.


Whose side you are on is generally an accident of birth. There are few who can really choose sides.

In WWI, during the Christmas ceasefire, men who had been shooting at each other the day before, emerged from the trenches to play football.

The concept of Christmas ceasefires in itself demonstrates the insanity of war.

If it can cease for a day, surely it can cease?

When there are natural disasters, the world rallies to help, as it should.

But when world leaders disagree, you have a man made disaster.

Nothing is as destructive as mankind.

Rivalry, distrust, greed.

Most are not hard-wired sociopaths, but we all have weaknesses that can be manipulated by those who are.

It’s hard to believe I was ever naive enough to believe that after two world wars, mankind would have found a better way.

How many civilisations have thrived for centuries and fallen?

When I pause to honour the war dead, I often wonder how far back I should go in history.

War for me, has always stayed mercifully on the fringes of my existence. Never quite close enough to threaten me but close enough for me to notice.

My words, I’m afraid, do not adequately express my feelings.

At heart I am a pacifist, but sometimes you have no option but to fight.

Today an article about the origin Of Memorial Day cheered me.

Written by Richard Gardiner, Associate Professor of Historical Education at Columbus State University in Georgia.


The first Memorial Day was observed on May 9th 1866, after the Civil War.

Women of Columbus, Georgia placed flowers on the graves of the war dead, Confederates and Union, believing that all should be remembered and honoured.

This generous act, I think, should also be remembered.

7 thoughts on “Historical Memorial Day

  1. Whichever way you look at it, war is just the mark of monumental failure. The vast majority of those who fight (the winners and the losers) would never choose to do so. Those who decide to fight, do not do so themselves, but may send entire generation away to do it for them. Today, people like Putin feed their egos with war and thousands of innocents pay the ultimate price for somebody else’s vanity. Sometimes we have to stand up and be counted, but generally others have let the situation develop first – often in full sight. It is shit and I so would like to be part of a world in which it did not happen, but I never will…

  2. Carolyn, thank you for your thoughtful perspective on war and the cost of war. I found the article interesting and a good reminder of the day. I hate conflict, always have. Most wars seem to begin with acts of aggression followed by those defending home and country and been going on since the beginning of history. As seems to be getting worse as time goes on. “Those who do not learn from the past tend to repeat it.”
    I am glad our country has set aside Memorial Day as a sacred day to stop and think about the cost of war. By honoring our nation’s war dead, we preserve their memory by honoring their service and sacrifice. They were not the cause of war. It’s a little thing, but perhaps with the placing of flags on tombstones and taking time to remember these men and women who gave their lives for our freedom, we will realize the cost of war and be the ones who take a stand….
    This is a day of conflicting emotions and no answers and sadness for the family members i lost – both those who died during conflict and those who returned forever damaged.
    Now back to the fact I love your photos and stories – they lift me up…

  3. Thank you, Carolyn, for the beautiful and poignant post about the most important day of the year when we honour the brave who gave their future so we could live in safety and be free.


  4. My father, brother and Berto were in the military (in those years it was compulsory) … so, I grew up with the idea that there is always a war somewhere. But it still blows my mind that people have to make war all the time (as if it’s a normal activity). However, I’m of the opinion that unfortunately it’s not going to change … not after centuries of war!

  5. We have Remembrance Sunday in November. That derives from Armistice Day, the first one being held in 1919 to remember the dead of WW1. Since then we have many more dead to remember of course. From WW2, Korea, colonial wars, Northern Ireland, The Falklands, Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Studying History as a schoolboy, I soon realised that almost everything that has happened since it was first recorded is about a war, and its aftermath.
    Nothing has ever been learned, other than how to make weapons more destructive.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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