Memorial Day 2012by Jennifer Nagy on 05/28/12
Every year on Memorial Day I try to write a little tribute to our fallen soldiers and shed some light on the history and traditions of our current Memorial Day. If some of this blog sounds familiar to you because you read it last year, then I apologize in advance for the repetition but I strongly feel that some lessons are worth repeating. As you celebrate this long weekend with your friends and family remember that this is not simply a holiday to mark the beginning of summer but a day of remembrance to honor all of the men and women who have died for this country so that we can enjoy our freedom.
Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day. Observed on May 31st, it was a day that the graves of fallen soldiers would be decorated in remembrance of their sacrifice for this country. Decoration Day was first widely celebrated in 1868. After World War I it became a celebration to honor fallen soldiers from every American war and in 1971 congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday that would be celebrated the last Monday in May. The American Flag should be flown at half-mast from dawn until noon and then raised.
For me this Memorial Day will hold a special significance because a funeral will be held for my Great Uncle, Charlie Deal who passed away Thursday May 24th at the age of 97. He didn't die in combat but he certainly lived a life of service to this country. Charlie Deal became a firefighter in Polk County Florida on December 26th 1939 and then joined the Unites States Navy Seabees in July of 1942 where he served two years in the South Pacific during World War II. He was discharged from the Navy on October of 1945 at which time he returned to the Lakeland Fire Department. He advanced to the rank of Fire Chief in 1954 and served in that capacity until 1982 when he retired with a total of 42 years of service to the Lakeland Fire Department. There is so much more that I could say about this man and the way he lived his life but the bottom line is he was a great man who had a large influence on my life and he will be greatly missed by many.