Here’s What EVERY American Needs To Do To Honor Our Fallen Heroes This Memorial Day…

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As I walked the graveyard this weekend placing American Flags on soldiers headstones, I was shocked at how many laid at rest in this small town in Kansas. I started to ponder about how many soldiers have paid the ultimate cost in the founding and defense of this nation as well as the origins of “Memorial Day” and how it has truly fallen in society’s eyes. Lets face it, it has become more about a 3 day weekend and a holiday for the masses.


The numbers I have uncovered can never be exact numbers, that is another high cost of war and those who have sacrificed all. The following is a list of U.S. casualties in wars that American soldiers have fought in, I want all to be fully aware that the smaller conflicts and battles are too vast to list.


“Decoration Day” or as we now know it, “Memorial Day” has a conflict all its own. There is a vast controversy about the true origins of the day and where the 1st event took place. Regardless of its origins or founding date, one thing is crystal clear – Decoration Day was created to honor the soldiers that died in the Civil War. On May 5th, 1868, General John Logan, national Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, created General Order #11. He chose this particular date because it held no particular significance of any battle.


“The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”


Part of the national 3-day weekend to honor the fallen soldiers, all flags are to be lowered to half-mast.  What traditionally started out as half-mast for the 3 days has now been changed, starting at dawn on Memorial Day till noon. This has become almost lost in our society as now it is more about sales and what corporate America can gain from the American public. The National holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363) helped ensure a 3 day federal holiday.


Another tradition that was hand-in-hand with Memorial Day was wearing a red poppy. This was started by, Moina Michael.  In 1915 she wrote a poem, “In Flanders Fields” that was dedicated to the memory of soldiers who had died in battle.


“We cherish too, the Poppy red

That grows on fields where valor led,

It seems to signal to the skies

That blood of heroes never dies.”


She then was the first to ever wear the red poppies on her dress and sold other red poppies to friends and family.  Moina took all the proceeds every year from the red poppies and used it for the soldiers that needed help. In 1922 the VFW became the first Veteran organization to sell artificial red “Buddy” poppies that were created by disabled vets.

The National Day of Remembrance was passed in 2000, it states that, “All Americans @ 3pm local time, to voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a moment of remembrance and respect. Pausing wherever they are and whatever they are doing, for a moment of silence and/or playing TAPS.”

I am humbled to educate myself on the origins of Memorial Day and the vast number of the fallen soldiers that have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. I also find myself disgusted with what I observe in today’s society on this 3 day weekend. Very few take even a moment out of their day to acknowledge this sacred day yet alone volunteer to place flags on the fallen headstones. These soldiers deserve to be honored in the highest respect & lowering the American Flag to half-mast while you say a silent prayer or play taps is the very least we can do.

As an American Vet I implore each of you to take the time to educate today’s youth as well as each other about what this weekend truly is about. This does not mean we all must become a nation in mourning, but rather we honor our fallen and those families who place flags on their loved ones headstones. It doesn’t matter if you’re camping or grilling out or whatever you find yourself doing this weekend, you get to do so freely because of the blood of the fallen soldiers of the United States of America. Rest in peace brothers, your watch is over…

AFF’s Huny Badger is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.

He is currently a Warfighter Up DJ on The Warfighter Radio Network.


God Bless.



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