The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.


May 30, 2010

Name: The Dude
Posting date: 5/30/10
Returned from: Afghanistan
Milblog: c/o

As I sit here on the porch of a cabin, admiring the scenic beauty of upstate New York, I can’t help reflecting on the importance of Memorial Day. As a veteran of the war in Afghanistan and a fan of American history, every day is Memorial Day for me. However, I also understand that everyone isn’t a history buff at heart and that the average citizen likes the Memorial Day holiday because of the three-day weekend, the Indy 500, and the fact that it unofficially kicks off the summer season. Over the years I have “evolved” to accept the average citizen’s view of this weekend, but I do like to take opportunities to educate my fellow Americans. Here is a very brief historical background about Memorial Day:

Framed Bouhammer Memorial Day Arlington At the end of the Civil War, communities set aside Decoration Day to mark the end of the war, or as a memorial to those who had died. Many of the states of the South refused to celebrate Decoration Day, due to lingering hostility towards the Union Army and also because there were relatively few veterans of the Union Army buried in the South. A notable exception was Columbus, Mississippi, which on April 25, 1866, at its Decoration Day commemorated both the Union and Confederate casualties buried in its cemetery. The alternative name of “Memorial Day” was first used in 1882. It did not become more common until after World War II, and was not declared the official name by Federal law until 1967.

On June 28, 1968, the United States Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill, which moved three holidays from their traditional dates to a specified Monday in order to create a convenient three-day weekend. The holidays included Washington’s Birthday, now celebrated as Presidents’ Day; Veterans Day and Memorial Day. The change moved Memorial Day from its traditional May 30th date to the last Monday in May. The law took effect at the federal level in 1971.

On Memorial Day we now honor the service members who have been killed in all of our nation’s wars, not just the Civil War. Whatever activities you partake in this weekend, please take a few minutes to at least say thank you to our great Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can have the freedoms and pleasures to do whatever we want. I know I will.

Live Free or Die Trying!


I came to this blog by accident, but I found very interesting. Greetings to all the people who visit this page.

I had older relatives who called it Decoration Day. And I remember learning the Civil War history associated with it but didn't remember if it was for Union or Confederate or always combined. Too many of both perished in Kentucky and nearby Tennessee. I read the memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant last year. He wrote well, but wars cost too many souls, always.

Thank you for this post. My flag was out on Monday. Didn't participate in any parades this year, but loved the one in Bellevue/Dayton in NKY when I lived up there. One year a candidate for re-election had a float decorated like the DAV poppy with signs acknowledging the fatalaties for all American wars. Her Iraq war veteran son drove the truck. No politicking other than the name sponsoring the float.

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