Honoring Our Heroes

An article from The Saturday Evening Post archive honoring U.S. soldiers on Memorial Day.

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Lest we forget: Originally called Decoration Day, from the early tradition of decorating graves with flowers, Memorial Day was observed on May 30 until 1971 when Congress declared it a national holiday and moved it to the last Monday in May.
Lest we forget: Originally called Decoration Day, from the early tradition of decorating graves with flowers, Memorial Day was observed on May 30 until 1971 when Congress declared it a national holiday and moved it to the last Monday in May. (Photo by Bill Shrout, © SEPS)

An excerpt of this article appeared in the May/June 2015 issue; the article was originally published as “In Memoriam” in The Saturday Evening Post on June 2, 1956.

From Arlington to remote prairie shrines to foreign fields, America provides resting place for her fallen sons. Now, on this poignant 30th day of May, we revive the memory of heroes with living blossoms.

Jimmy Collins was a long way from home when a Japanese machine gun cut him down in 1944. He died in New Guinea, at 27, then returned to lie forever in Kansas earth. Each year on Memorial Day his father and mother drive 70 miles from their farm to Fort Scott National Cemetery. With Jimmy’s parents in this photograph are three little Collinses who also came to honor the uncle they never knew.

Long after the agony of Bunker Hill, Bull Run and Bastogne, the dead lie in peace. They and their comrades have left us names the world can never forget — Shiloh, Chateau-Thierry, Iwo Jima, the Normandy beachhead and the Pusan Perimeter. We gave the ground they lie in; they hallow it. Afternoon shadows lengthen on Memorial Day, somewhere faintly a bugle blows taps, and we renew the resolve Abraham Lincoln bequeathed us — that “these dead shall not have died in vain.”

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Comments

  1. Then and now, The last two lines of Ima Ryma’s posted poem resonate, for it’s true. “As long as war mongers do reign, Too many dead do die in vain”.

  2. Powers that be that We let be,
    Keep sending us to fight in war.
    We do not learn from history,
    Hope for peace on Earth is no more.
    The living come to the graveside
    Of those who paid the highest price,
    To remember those who have died.
    But for what did they sacrifice?
    For freedom – powers that be lie.
    That’s always the same lame excuse.
    Lots of We the People must die
    For powers that be. We have use.

    As long as war mongers do reign,
    Too many dead do die in vain.

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