Op-Ed by Patrick Henry – Democratic Candidate for Texas House District 25
I hope everyone has had a pleasant and safe Memorial Day. The Tradition of Memorial Day had its start after the Civil War. While the North and South have claims on the origin of this remembrance of those lost in this conflict, credit for the day was given to Waterloo, Iowa in 1966.They started a City-wide event with businesses closed and the decoration of graves with flags and flowers in 1866.
In the North General, John A. Logan called for a nationwide day of remembrance on the 30th day of May 1866. Logan referred to it as Decoration Day. This is the term my grandparents used and we always went to clean up and decorate family graves in tiny country cemeteries. In the South, similar events on separate days were celebrated. The several States still celebrate a Confederate Memorial Day in late April.
Memorial Day as Decoration Day became known evolved as a united national event after WW I. Well, mostly united, Harry Truman’s Missouri Grandmother would not let him stand on her porch in his “Yankee” uniform after his return from fighting in France. It was celebrated on May the 30th until 1968 when Congress established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May, officially declaring it a federal holiday.
The red crepe poppies you see given out by the American Legion Auxiliary are a tradition honoring the war dead that dates back to just after WW I. Poppies are described in the famous poem of that era, “In Flanders’ Field.” These memorials are hand made by veterans as a part of their rehabilitation.
So while Memorial Day kicks off the start of summer, please take time to consider our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers who gave their lives in service to this Country.
This July 17th will mark 50 years since the death of Nels Hemmingson, I never met Nels. I know Nels from a picture in dress blues and a folded flag. I know the hole of his loss made in my best friend’s family. For 50 years his mother Joyce Hemmingson, Sister Ann Bean, and Brother Kimbel Hemingson have mourned the loss of a son and brother. I think of the Hemmingson’s every Memorial Day, of the potential lost when a young Marine Lance Corporal died in Vietnam at the age of 20.
Let us remember the sacrifice. Let us remember the cost. And let us not squander God’s blessings on this Country.
Patrick Henry is running for State Representative for Texas House District 25. HD 25 encompasses Southern Brazoria County and all of Matagorda County. Patrick and his wife Kathy have been married 34 years and live in Angleton. They have two grown sons, Sean and David.
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