A Day of Remembrance

Last week, I told you about our 100th year celebration of our local hospital and said that I was excited to be going to the culmination of that week’s celebration, which would be a dressy party. It was a wonderful party with many of the Hospital Foundation donors, members of the Hospital Board, our doctors, the hospital staff, and last but by no means least about twenty or more of our auxiliary members.
When you walked into our local Community Center, the first thing you saw was an antique crib or isolette with a small doll dressed as a baby would have been, with a little jacket and diaper. As you checked in a found your table, the true decorations from the past 100 years were shown. There was an entire wall dedicated to photos of past doctors and nurses, newspaper articles about the hospital, that have been preserved, and the list goes on! Some of the older ladies in attendance were telling us about some of the Nuns who were nurses back in those days and how strict everything was, and how hard everyone worked.
There were also photos of Auxiliary members at various times, and a shadow box with pins and bars from the ladies, denoting the amount of hours donated to the Hospital by these members, It is a total of over 70,000 hours. I am not sure of the number of years that is included here. It is really a beautiful display and as I understand, it will be on display at our local museum until September.
The evening began with a cocktail reception, with drinks and any type of fruit, cheese, and cold cuts you can imagine for snacking, and lots of socializing, as everyone seemed to enjoy seeing old friends and former co-workers.
This was followed by welcome from our Hospital CEO, and an invocation by the Mr. Leck, Chair of the Hospital Board of Trustees.
Then came a marvelous dinner with a salad and a choice of entrée, that was steak medallions or salmon, followed by a choice of grilled vegetables, and was prepared and served by a restaurant from a nearby town, and the food and service was all awesome!
The meal was followed by a program of Personal and Oral History Interviews, including patients, our local Doctors, department heads, members of the Hospital board, a member of the Auxiliary. There are really too many to mention here, but it was a wonderful evening that culminated with the the unveling of a painting, called “A Century of Memories”. It will be on display at the hospital on our history wall at the hospital. The Hospital is shown in each of its re-buildings and growth through the past century.
Monday, May 30 is Memorial Day. What does it mean to you? Do you celebrate it, or is it just a neat day to have off work for a long weekend? Do you fly the flag? It is mainly a day of remembrance, of all the veterans of all the wars and is one of the holidays that are celebrated on the last Monday of the month that it is in. We will have a program at the Fire Station, with a part of the high school band playing for us, and also a really nice program. There are usually speakers, and wreaths are placed as memorials from many organizations.
Memorial Day was formerly called Decoration Day and was celebrated on May 30th. General John A. Logan, commander of the Grand Army of the Republic originated this day to honor the war dead.
It is a legal holiday in almost all the fifty states. In some places, the observance consists of civic parades and the placing of flowers on veteran’s graves. In San Antonio, there is usually a special service at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery. This very impressive ceremony, with taps and a 21-gun salute, always reduces even the strongest to tears as they realize that these men who are buried here gave there all for their country.
There are services in foreign cemeteries honoring the graves of American servicemen who are buried on foreign soil. There are water services for those who died at sea, and there are ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. It has been the custom to fly the flag at half-mast until noon in the United States.
The verse that follows is one of the best known and is written about the Buddy Poppy. Everyone is familiar with this little red flower that is offered for a donation either at Memorial Day or in time for Veteran’s Day in November. John McCrae (1872-1918) is the author of this famous poem. He is remembered for what is probably the single best-known and popular poem from WWI. He was a Canadian physician and fought on the Western Front in 1914, but was then transferred to the medical corps and assigned to a hospital in France. He died of pneumonia while on active duty in 1918. His volume of poetry, “In Flanders Fields and Other Poems, was published in 1919. It is said that John McCrae was standing in the cemetery and saw the beautiful red poppies growing over the area, that he was so impressed and moved that he wrote the poem.
In Flanders Fields
By John McCrae (1872-1918)
In Flanders fields the
Poppies blow
Between the cross, row on row
That mark our place;
And in the sky
The larks, still bravely
Singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the
Guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw
Sunset glow
Loved and were loved,
And now we lie
In Flanders fields. Take
Up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing
Hands we throw
The torch’ be yours to
Hold it high.
If ye break faith with us
Who die
We shall not sleep,
Though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.