Dear Zenith Art Lovers,
According to History.com it is unclear where exactly the Memorial Day tradition of commemoratiin our fallen soldiers originated. Numerous different communities that may have independently initiated the memorial gatherings are cited – some records showing that one of the earliest Memorial Day commemoration was organized by a group of freed slaves in Charleston, South Carolina, less than a month after the Confederacy surrendered in 1865. Nevertheless, in 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day.
Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials. Some people wear a red poppy in remembrance of those fallen in war – a tradition that began with a World War I poem. Struck by the sight of bright red blooms on broken ground, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, a Canadian who served as a brigade surgeon for an Allied artillery unit, wrote a poem, “In Flanders Field,” in which he channeled the voice of the fallen soldiers buried under those poppies.
This year, as we honor those who gave their lives for our country, and those who serve today in our military, let us not forget those who willingly serve on the front lines fighting the Covid pandemic and saving lives. It is a daunting battle and we are ever grateful to the doctors, nurses, first responders, and volunteers across the U.S. and the globe. This Memorial Day we need to remember everyone who is sacrificing to save our population and our planet.
Maybe we should call it both Memorial and Memory Day.
When we do not know or remember history we are likely to repeat it. Because the U.S. used to be the leading country on eradicating diseases many Americans have lost memory of the devastating effects of these diseases. I grew up during the Polio epidemic. Before that was the 1918 influenza, and before that was smallpox. We eradicated all of them, and more recently, measles.
We have lost more people to this Pandemic that the Korean and Vietnam wars combined. We need to stop fighting science and each other, we are one people, one planet, what effects one can affect all.
Please take care of yourself, honor our first responders, honor each other, and treat everyone how you would like to be treated yourself. They truly deserve it and we all need it.
Margery E. Goldberg