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Published on May 28th, 2012 | by Allen West Republic

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Remembering our guardians at the gate by Rep. Allen West : Human Events Article 5/28/12

by Rep. Allen West

The solemn act of honoring those who have fallen in battle is a custom that seems to have faded in importance to our nation over time.

Nowadays, many Americans have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At cemeteries across the country, the graves of the fallen are sadly ignored, and worse, neglected.

While there are towns and cities still planning Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some think the day is for honoring anyone who has died, not just those fallen in service to our country.

Perhaps they do not know how deeply our nation once appreciated those who sacrificed their lives in defense of the principles we hold most dear. Perhaps those very principles of individual sovereignty, freedom and liberty are no longer so important.

It was not always so.

In 1868, on May 5th, Memorial Day, originally called “Decoration Day,” was officially proclaimed by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11.

General Logan asked that we cherish “tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes. Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their deaths the tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders.”

But times change. In the 1960s our warriors were not welcomed back from battle with parades and cheers, and the fallen were not honored as they had been in the past.

Perhaps reflecting those times, the Uniform Holidays Bill was passed in 1968 as part of a move to use federal holidays to create three-day weekends – time for fun and recreation, rather than remembrance and reflection.

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