Memorial Day

Special Delivery: Letters to Our Troops

Make a Soldier’s Day Those who haven’t been overseas and away from their family and friends for a lengthy period of time cannot understand completely how it feels. During the holidays it gets even harder for the men and women serving our country in the war against terrorism to be away from home. We can all help by sending letters and emails to show our appreciation and respect. Use the links below to choose which option best suits you and make someone’s day! Operation Enduring Response Operation Enduring Response is a national letter writing campaign sponsored by the Red Cross connecting America’s school children with the United States military fighting in the war against terrorism. Children write letters on the 11th of every month. The letters are then delivered in bulk by the Red Cross to the men and women fighting overseas. Source:       Enduring Response Dear American Soldier Use the links at this site to either read or write letters of encouragement to men and women in all branches of the Armed Services who are defending our liberty. View letters written by fellow Americans by age, state, or date. Source:       American Family Association Operation Dear Abby Since its inception in 1967, Operation Dear Abby is responsible for boosting the moral of our nation’s troops by inviting American citizens to send letters and postcards to them during the holidays. As a result of increased terrorist activity the messages are now delivered via a secure military site which is bug and virus free. Whereas before you could only send in letters from November to January,...

National Moment of Remembrance

The National Moment of Remembrance, established by Congress, asks Americans wherever they are at 3 p.m., local time, on Memorial Day to pause in an act of national unity (duration: one minute).

Veteran’s Memorial Road Race

Veteran’s Memorial Road Race “The only USA Track & Field-certified 11K running in American that honors our veterans (past, present and future) on their national day of recognition – VETERANS DAY.” “100% of the Race Proceeds are donated to the Veterans Northeast Outreach Center, Inc. a private, non-profit 501c (3), regional resource center serving Veterans and their families.  Established in 1985, the agency provides a number of services and programs assisting Veterans and their families. Their mission statement is to provide the highest quality of services to assist, support and advocate for all veterans and their families in the greater Merrimack Valley.” They provide . . . Transitional housing and support services for 22 homeless Veterans Information on Veterans services, VA claims, military records, VA Health Care and other information Emergency food supplies as part of their “Veterans Community Food Pantry” A “VetMeals” Food Service program offering low-cost meals to Veterans and their families Structured day programs with recreational, educational, and therapeutic components Employment counseling, resume preparation, and educational and placement services Affordable housing facilities at their Veterans Campus properties offering 10 single bedroom apartments available for homeless and disabled veterans So if you live in or around Stoneham, Massachusetts go to this page to fill out a general application or here for a group application to participate in the race! Source: Veteransrace.com Cite this… (new...

Folding the American Flag

Folding the American Flag You may know that the American flag is folded 13 times when it is lowered or when it is passed on to the next of kin at the burial of a Veteran, but you might not know why. Here is a breakdown of what each fold represents . . .     The first fold of our flag is the symbol of life. The second fold is a symbol of our belief in the eternal life. The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran(s) departing our ranks, who gave a portion of life for the defense of our country and to attain peace throughout the world. The fourth fold represents our weaker nature; for, as American citizens trusting in God, it is in him we turn to in times of peace as well as in times of war for his divine guidance. The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, “Our country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it still is our country, right or wrong.” The sixth fold reminds us of the six battle-weary fighters who vigilantly struggled to the top of Mount Suribache on Iwo Jima during World War II. Once there, they proudly raised above the battle our flag, the symbol “that we all hold dear,” the symbol of “freedom, democracy, government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” It is our duty to defend the flag which stands for them all. The seventh fold is for where our hearts lie. It...

General Orders #11 – Designation of Memorial Day

HEADQUARTERS GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC Washington D.C. May 5, 1868 General Orders No. 11 I. The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or other decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but Posts and comrades will, in their own way, arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit. We are organized, Comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose among other things, “of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion.” What can aid more to assure this result than by cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead? We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic. If other eyes grow dull and other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as...

America’s Wars Fact Sheet

The U.S. Air Force Honor Guard rehearses Jan. 11 in preparation for 56th presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C. More than 5,000 men and women in uniform are providing military ceremonial support to the presidential inauguration. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo) American Revolution (1775-1783)Total Servicemembers …………………………….217,000 Battle Deaths …………………………………………..4,435 Non-mortal Woundings………………………………..6,188 War of 1812 (1812-1815)Total Servicemembers……………………………..286,730 Battle Deaths…………………………………………..2,260 Non-mortal Woundings……………………………….4,505 Indian Wars (approx. 1817-1898)Total Servicemembers……………………………..106,000 Battle Deaths……………………………………………1,000 Mexican War (1846-1848)Total Servicemembers……………………………….78,718 Battle Deaths……………………………………………1,733 Other Deaths in Service……………………………..11,550 Non-mortal Woundings………………………………..4,152 Civil War (1861-1865)Total U.S. Servicemembers (Union)…………..2,213,363 Battle Deaths (Union)………………………………140,414 Other Deaths (In Theater) (Union)………………..224,097 Non-mortal Woundings (Union)…………………..281,881 Total Servicemembers (Conf.) (note 2) ………..1,050,000 Battle Deaths (Confederate) (note 3) ………………74,524 Other Deaths (In Theater) (Confed.) (note 3, 4)……59,297 Non-mortal Woundings (Confed.) ……………..Unknown Spanish-American War (1898-1902)Total Servicemembers (Worldwide)……………..306,760 Battle Deaths………………………………………………385 Other Deaths in Service (Non-Theater)…………….2,061 Non-mortal Woundings………………………………..1,662 World War I (1917-1918)Total Servicemembers (Worldwide)……………4,734,991 Battle Deaths………………………………………….53,402 Other Deaths in Service (Non-Theater)…………..63,114 Non-mortal Woundings…………………………….204,002 Living Veterans……………………………………………….1 World War II (1941-1945)Total Servicemembers (Worldwide)………….16,112,566 Battle Deaths…………………………………………291,557 Other Deaths in Service (Non-Theater)………….113,842 Non-mortal Woundings…………………………….671,846Living Veterans (note 5)…………………………..2,306,000 Korean War (1950-1953)Total Servicemembers (Worldwide)…………..5,720,000 Battle Deaths………………………………………….33,741 Other Deaths (In Theater)…………………………….2,833 Other Deaths in Service (Non-Theater)…………..17,672 Non-mortal Woundings…………………………….103,284 Living Veterans……………………………………2,307,000 Vietnam War (1964-1975)Total Servicemembers (Worldwide) (note 6)….8,744,000 Deployed to Southeast Asia (note 7) ………….3,403,000 Battle Deaths (note 8).………………………………..47,424 Other Deaths (In Theater) (note 8) …………………10,785 Other Deaths in Service (Non-Theater) (note 8) …32,000 Non-mortal Woundings (note 9).…………………..153,303 Living Veterans (note 5, 10)……………………….7,125,000 Desert Shield/Desert Storm (1990-1991)Total Servicemembers (Worldwide)…………..2,322,000 Deployed to Gulf…………………………………….694,550 Battle Deaths………………………………………………147 Other Deaths (In Theater)……………………………….235 Other Deaths in...

Memorial Day

Memorial Day   After the culmination of events that took place during the Civil War, the healing of the north and south would be a lengthy process.  Each would still have reservations about the other, but would agree on one thing; all the men and women who perished as a result of the war should be honored for their bravery and service.  Two different ideas on how to go about doing this surfaced and eventually combined to form Memorial Day.  This particular day, the last Monday in May, is not simply a three-day weekend but a day of personal remembrance and reflection for those who lost someone who served America during a time of war.    On May 5th of 1866, Henry Welles, a drugstore owner from Waterloo, New York suggested a day to honor soldiers killed in the Civil War.  Wreathes, flags, flowers, and crosses were placed upon the graves of the dead and shops were closed.  On May 5th, 1868, exactly two years after the Waterloo observance, retired Major General John A. Logan issued General Order No. 11 establishing Decoration Day.  This “memorial” was a planned ceremony for soldiers who had survived the war to decorate comrades’ graves with flags.  In 1868 the two ideas merged. Then     In 1882 the name was changed from Decoration Day to Memorial Day.   Memorial Day was celebrated to honor those who served in the Civil War.   The Northern...

The American Flag

The American Flag   Where exactly did our national flag come from?  Believe it or not, no one knows!  Historians ventured a guess and thought perhaps a man named Francis Hopkinson designed it.  It was also believed that a seamstress from Philadelphia named Betsy Ross hand-sewed the first official flag.  It is certain that a man named Francis Scott Key wrote the words to the ‘Star Spangled Banner’, a song about the flag.  It wasn’t until June 24th, 1912 that an Executive Order was given recognizing the flag as our national symbol. There were many variations of the flag flown as the country was formed, but finally on June 14th, 1777 (Flag Day or the Flag’ s Birthday), the final design was established.  The American Flag began with 13 stripes of alternating red and white, and 13 white stars in a blue field.  This represented the ‘New Constellation’ that was the 13 colonies.  It wasn’t until August 21st, 1959 that President Dwight D. Eisenhower provided for the arrangement of the stars in nine rows staggered horizontally and 11 rows staggered vertically as we see the flag today.   Flag Day originated when a schoolteacher arranged for his pupils to celebrate the ‘Flag’s Birthday’ on the anniversary of the ‘Stars and Stripes,’ on June 14th.  In 1894 the governor of New York directed that on this day the Flag be displayed on all public buildings.  Finally in 1942, Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance, although one year later the Supreme Court would rule that school kids could not be forced to recite it. What do you need to know...