“Monday 5 Things”™ ….. To Remember …..

Dsc 1673Photo: D. Paul Graham, “Salute for the Fallen”, 1st Battalion, Ranger Regiment, Savannah 2012

“Monday 5 Things”™ ….. To Remember …..

Whenever I drive by Hunter Airfield Base, I slow down and say a prayer. In 2012, I attended a funeral for fallen Army Ranger, Sgt. Tanner Higgins. To say that attending the ceremony was humbling, an honor, and a privilege, would be an understatement. Chills ran through my body as the 1st Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment stood ramrod straight in stifling Georgian heat and humidity for roll call. Each soldier confirming their presence loudly and clearly to their First Sergeant, as each of their names were called. Sgt. Tanner was the last name called. The Regiment responded in unison with crisp salutes. Tears flowed openly as his name was called for the last time in an honored tradition and conviction held by the Rangers that all unit members will be accounted for, and that none will ever be forgotten. Today’s M5T reflects on Memorial Day; a day in which America honors and remembers those military men and women who gave their lives defending this country.

1. The Beginning

In April 1866, women in Columbus, Mississippi laid flowers on the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers. Early in May 1868, Major General John A. Logan issued a general order that May 30, 1868 should be an official day “for the purposes of strewing flowers and otherwise decorating the graves of our comrades who died in the defense of their country,” and he expressed hope that the day would be “kept up from year to year while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades.” That same day in 1868, President Ulysses S. Grant presided over the first Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. Civil War General, and future President, James A. Garfield spoke, and said, “I am oppressed with a sense of impropriety of uttering words on this occasion.”

2. Guarding Flags

Since the late 1950’s, over 1,200 soldiers of the 3rd US Infantry place flags at each grave site at Arlington National Cemetery. There is over 400,000 men and women buried there, with 25 burials performed each day. The Infantry patrols 24 hours a day over the weekend to protect the flags.

3. One Every Sixty-Five

Over 656,000 veterans today suffer from PTSD. About 8,000 veterans take their own lives every year. That’s 18 to 22 a day, or about 1 suicide every 65 minutes. Arguably an epidemic, this dirty little secret of the military is gaining more visibility. A Goldman Sachs analyst, Brian Kinsella who is a former US Army Captain, started the non-profit organization called “Stop Soldier Suicide”. It appears that Wall Street does have a heart. The organization cannot keep up with demand.

4. One Minute

In 2000, the US Congress established the ‘National Moment of Remembrance’, asking Americans to pause at 3:00 pm in a show of national unity. The hour of 3:00 pm was chosen as “it is the time when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday.” There should be no guilt in celebrations, grilling, and other sundry activities that take place on this day. Our liberty today rests on the very backs of men and women who fought and died for our way of life.

5. Schuyler Colfax

The 17th Vice President of these great United States from 1869 to 1873, was quoted about those that died in battle protecting America: “These martyrs of patriotism gave their lives for an idea.”

Here’s to remembrance of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the idea of America, and for our freedom that we far too often take for granted.

© 2023 D. Paul Graham, all rights reserved.

For over 11 years, D. Paul Graham has published “Monday 5 Things” ™, also known to readers as M5T. You can reach Paul by email at dpg@imagegraham.com