Memorial Day: It’s a Day of Remembrance
Everywhere in this great country that is the United States of America, images of what makes
us great will sprout across the landscape in remembrance of those who have died to keep us free.
One image will be of a rifle, with a helmet draped over it and the U.S. flag hanging proud with a
Message that says: “The Fallen…but not forgotten.” Another shows a famous photo of a group of U.S.
Marines striving to hold up the U.S. flag on Iwo Jima; yet another depicts white crosses strung across
a veterans’ cemetery, as it does at El Paso’s Fort Bliss cemetery, a place where those who died are
buried in a serene atmosphere. And, there is, of course, a poster of Uncle Sam pointing his index
finger at the viewer with the message: “I want you to remember them…those who gave all for your
FREEDOM! That’s what Memorial Day is all about.
And, wouldn’t you know it? There is also a Confederate Memorial Day in South Carolina,
the state where the Civil War began. This Memorial Day honors Southerners who died fighting for
the Confederacy during the war between the states. Nine other Southern states also pay honor
to those men, albeit at different times of the year. South Carolina’s event occurs on May 10, the
day when General Stonewall Jackson died in 1863.
While songs, dramas and poems have been written about Memorial Day, one of the
most stirring is the poem written by Mary Frye in 1932, “Don’t Stand at My Grave and Weep:”
“Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep
I am in a thousand winds that blow
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain
I am the fields of ripening grain
I am in the morning hush
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight
I am the starshine of the night
I am in the flowers that bloom
I am in a quiet room
I am the birds that sing
I am in each lovely thing
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there, I do not cry.
Thus, in El Paso, as across this magic land, people will remember. Whether at a picnic, or a
barbeque, they will remember; whether at work or at play, they will remember; whether it’s a bugler
blowing taps, he will remember; whether it’s a grandfather playing with his grandchild, he will remember,
whether it’s an old combat war veteran, thinking of the buddies he left behind, who died so that he could
live, he will remember. It’s a day of remembrance that must be observed, lest we forget.
At Fort Bliss, a Memorial Day Service will be observed on Monday, May 28 – that’s the official
Day of Remembrance throughout the United States. The men and women who proudly serve in our military
will stand tall at the Fort Bliss National Cemetery. Starting at 9 a.m., the salute will include a 21-gun
honor by a Salute Battery, firing a 75-millimeter Howitzer. The event will be free and open to the public for
those who wish to commemorate their loved ones in a more formal way. Visitors are asked to not use the
main entrance at Fred Wilson, because it will be closed. They can use the walk-in gate for pedestrians.
Please remember to remember – lest we forget who keeps us free!