Public Watchdog.org

Memorial Day 2019

05.27.19

Today is Memorial Day, a national holiday established to honor those Americans who died in service to their country.

As Pres. Abraham Lincoln so poignantly noted at the end of his Gettysburg Address:

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

To correct an all-too-common misconception, it is not a day to thank living servicemen for their service. There are two days for that: Veterans Day (November 11) to honor and thank those living who have served in the U.S. military; and Armed Forces Day (3d Saturday in May) to honor and thank those currently serving in the armed services.

Of course, flying the flag today is encouraged in remembrance of those who “gave the last full measure of devotion.

For those of you who can do so, the proper way to fly the flag today is “in mourning”: Raise it to the top of the staff, then solemnly lower it to the half-staff position where it should remain only until noon, at which point it should be raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day.

And for those of you who don’t have an adjustable flag staff, you can attach a single black ribbon, the width of one flag stripe and with a length twice that of the flag by tying the center of the ribbon to the staff immediately above the flag such that its two ends (each as long as the flag) fly freely.

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