How many of today's students know that Decoration Day began three years after the Civil War, and the purpose was to decorate the graves and commemorate the lives of fallen soldiers? How many know that "Decoration Day" was changed to "Memorial Day" in 1967 to honor all men who gave the ultimate sacrifice for America?
Schools today have such a huge emphasis on "teaching to the test", but I am writing this column today with the hope that teachers will remember that schools are the sustainers of our unique American culture. The knowledge imparted in schools will keep important cultural traditions alive. Students need to know why Memorial Day is such an important day in the history of our country, and that all veterans should be recognized for their service to our country, especially those who gave their lives. More and more in this crazy world with the emergence of ISIS and their barbaric beheadings, Americans are recognizing even more that we would not have the freedoms we enjoy today without the sacrifice of the servicemen and women. For me personally, when I see servicemen and servicewomen, I verbally thank them for their service, and I often shake hands with them as well. The United States of America was built on the backs of her soldiers, and the ones who survived deserve our recognition, just as the ones who were killed deserve to be honored by all Americans. I am not making a political statement about my feelings as a hawk or a dove, just that service to one's country demands respect from others.
Taking a few minutes of classroom time to teach an important life lesson like Decoration Day and Memorial Day is my suggestion. Teaching gratefulness for courage and honor for service are two important lessons not to be missed. Although questions about these topics will not be on the Pennsylvania Keystone exams, these lessons are as important as any that will be tested.
Today is a good day to honor a fallen soldier with a word, a thought, or a prayer. Today is also a good day to thank a veteran. I am think of, and thanking my dad, George J. Faltot, WWII veteran, who is in Heaven right now, and I ask you to join me in showing appreciation and thankfulness to all of the veterans in our collective pathways. Have a thoughtful Memorial Day. Dede
My dad, George J. Faltot, in his WWII Army uniform.
As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.
I found an interesting article online about how Decoration Day came into being- very informative. http://www.rheaheraldnews.com/lifestyles/article_30025854-00b2-11e5-9bda-2b0f838a9d3a.html
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