Punchbowl Cemetery, Honolulu, Hawai'i

Punchbowl Cemetery, Honolulu, Hawai’i

The last weekend in May brings us to Memorial Day.  The History Channel has a good explanation of the history of Memorial Day — in short, it’s a time to honor the veterans who died while serving in the U.S. military.  But it actually began in the 1860s as Decoration Day, a time to honor those who had fallen in the Civil War.  It was only during World War I that the focus was broadened to all American wars; Memorial Day became a federal holiday in 1968.

The Miller Center at the University of Virginia has information about two presidential Memorial Day addresses — one by Lyndon B. Johnson and one by Ronald Reagan — that both built on the themes of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War also has a page with links to these speeches by LBJ and Reagan along with numerous ones from President Clinton and both Presidents Bush.

Vietnam Memorial

Vietnam Memorial

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