To the editor:
I grew up in Watertown in the 30s and 40s. Memorial Day was once called Decoration Day. Families would decorate the graves of deceased relatives and remember men who had died in the military to preserve America’s Freedom.
School children would march, carrying little hand held flags, along with the band, scouts and the American Legion, from cemetery to cemetery.
At each cemetery, names of the war dead were read, children or choirs would sing “My Country Tis of Thee,” “America The Beautiful,” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” An invocation was given and a guest speaker would speak followed by a gun salute and a bugler would play taps.
In school, I read the “American Creed.” I took time to memorize it and still remember it today: “I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people and for the people, who derive their just powers from the consent of the government. A Democracy within a republic. A sovereign nation made up of many sovereign states. A perfect union, one and inseparable. Established under the principles of freedom, equality, justice and humanity by American Patriots who sacrificed their lives and fortunes. I therefore believe it is my duty to my country, to love it, support it’s constitution, obey its laws, respect its flag, and defend it against all enemies.”
Late in life, I read a study of the rise and fall of great civilizations in past history. They all had a common progression of eight steps from their rise to their fall. They go from bondage to great faith, great faith to courage, courage to freedom, freedom to prosperity, prosperity to complacency, complacency to apathy, apathy to dependency and dependency back into bondage.
Fifty years ago, President JFK made this memorable statement: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
Today, we have progressed to just the opposite, with the majority of people voting for whoever will promise them the most. We are now just one last step away from history repeating itself once again.
Think about it, as we remember what was and how important Memorial Day once was.