Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day and was initiated to honor the soldiers who died during the American Civil War. The establishment of a public holiday was meant to unify the celebration as a national day of remembrance, and by the late 19th century, the holiday became known as Memorial Day, was expanded to include all deceased veterans, and in 1971, was declared a federal holiday. There is an inspirational nationwide display of patriotism with many families visiting war memorials and military cemeteries to honor the brave men and women who gave the ultimate price for our nation, and it is also a time when families visit civilian cemeteries to honor friends and relatives who never served in the armed services, but served their country, communities, friends, and families in other important ways.

Americans across the country remember those whom they have lost, echoing the sentiment found on an old tombstone, “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal; love leaves a memory no one can steal.”

Just an Old Man and His Dog

He was getting forgetful and arthritic; his hearing was failing fast.

He sat with his old dog Skip, telling stories of his past:

Of a war that he once fought in and the deeds that he had done.

Skip listened as he told how his buddies had been heroes, every one.

And though sometimes to his neighbors, his tales became a joke,

His old dog Skip listened intently, believing what the old man spoke.

But we’ll hear his tales no longer, for ol’ Bob has passed away,

And the world’s a little poorer because a soldier died today.

He won’t be mourned by many, just his old dog Skip and his loyal wife,

For he lived an ordinary, quiet, unassuming sort of life.

He held a job and raised a family who were grown and gone away:

Few will even notice the passing of this brave soldier today.

When politicians leave this earth, their bodies lie in state,

While thousands note their passing, proclaiming they were great.

Papers tell of their life stories, from the time that they were young,

But the passing of a soldier often goes unnoticed and unsung.

Skip sat by the empty chair of the soldier who had offered up his all,

Without a reason to live, Skip gave one last sigh,  and closed his eyes to die.

Certainly no headline in the paper will say,

“Our country is in mourning…a soldier and his loyal dog died today,”

But it’s folks like this who won for us the freedom that we now enjoy,

And the world’s a little poorer for a solder and his dog who died today.

 –Author unknown


As we attend parades, celebrations, various events, and family get-togethers, we remember our loved ones who are no longer with us. “How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our HE-roes, and our SHE-roes!” – Maya Angelou