Bivouac Of The Dead by Theodore O’Hara
THE MUFFLED drum’s sad roll has beat
The soldier’s last tattoo;
No more on Life’s parade shall meet
That brave and fallen few.
On Fame’s eternal camping-ground
Their silent tents are spread,
And Glory guards, with solemn round,
The bivouac of the dead.
I’m not a veteran. I have family and friends who are, which–I suspect–many families share a similar connection. Some more deeply than others. It is this shared bond that makes such days of remembrance as Memorial Day an important part of the fabric that is a nation or global citizen. Memorial Day was something started after the American Civil War. At that time, May 30th was the annual date for honoring those who died in service. The date was chosen because no previous war was started on May 30th. It was called Decoration Day for many decades. What started as a time to honor the dead from the Civil War, after the first World War expanded to all American soldiers from any war. The name, Memorial Day, was established in 1967 by President Johnson. The day is now honored on the last Monday of May.
3:00 p.m. Local Time — National Moment for Remembrance
Before continuing, here’s an important fact about Memorial Day: At 3 p.m. local time across the country and the world, a person or family or friends take a moment to remember someone or any who died in war, to honor their greatest sacrifice made for the United States.
Memorial Day is something that can be explored by students as an integrated part of their curriculum, and as an understanding of it’s presence in the fabric of American culture. At a university graduation I attended, six ROTC graduates had the honor of being the final students to walk across the stage to get their diploma. The applause for them did not stop until they walked the long path to the back row, and took their seats. No other person received such an out pour of appreciation. Hopefully they someday retire from service and raise families. Every person in that arena understood that these graduates would most likely be in harms way in service of the country. For this reason, and there are many others that you could come up with, it’s important that Memorial Day is explored in schools so that it’s not seen as a time to go on vacation and have time off from work or school.
Rather, during the time we spend with family and friends on an extended weekend at cookouts, sporting events, or other fun activities, at 3 p.m. please take a moment to remember those who died serving us. And give back to them a portion of the enjoyment we have on this day.
Memorial Day Resources
Here’s a list of some sites with interesting facts and supports that can be used for learning experiences at home and school. If you have one, would love to have them shared in the comments. Thanks.
Great references, pictures and videos. Great place to use to connect the past with the present.
- US Department for Veteran Affairs
A good reference site.
- Remembrance by the New York Times
Check out the wealth of linked references for place to explore and dig deeper.
- Time for Kids article
- Time Magazine article
- Arlington National Cemetery