In 2011 I achieved an Historian’s Dream*…
I got to visit France on the anniversary of the D-Day Invasion:
Of everything I saw there, the one picture I can see without having to look. Two brothers, side by side, laid to rest in the national cemetery in Normandy, France.
I can close my eyes and see this picture, flowers at the base of each Cross.
I remember how I felt; I thought about how my parents might have responded if they’d lost their two sons to a military operation.
(Look carefully, you’ll see their shared last names…and, if you ever heard of the movie Saving Private Ryan…they’re the ones who inspired the film.)
* You know I taught US History and World History back in the ‘90s, right? For one year, I taught 7th grade, and for another 4 years I taught 10th and 11th grades.
When I was a teacher, I’d hoped that Memorial Day wasn’t JUST seen as “a day off school and work.” I asked students to pause sometime that day, and reflect on what we’d learned together.
And, now that I am an Adjunct Faculty Member at Air University, USAF Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, AL, I continue teaching what I’ve learned about our country’s military history.
Today is Memorial Day, 2017
Originally known as Decoration Day…it was officially claimed on May 5th, 1868 by General John Logan, commander of the Grand Army.
Why May 5th?
At that time, it wasn’t the anniversary of a specific battle.
It originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971.
Later, in 2000, President Bill Clinton signed a proclamation asking Federal Employees – and as many Americans who would – to pause for one minute at 3PM local time.