Decorating soldiers’ graves with flowers is an ancient custom. We’ve done this in the United States since before the Civil War.
Decoration Day was officially established soon after the Civil War ended and observed on May 30 because flowers would be in bloom all over the country. Memorial Day became a national holiday in 1971 and moved to the last Monday in May.
A gray, cold day – It’s hard see the end of these graves, and more difficult to imagine the suffering. Arlington National Cemetery is the final resting place for more than 400,000 active duty service members, veterans and their families.
On this Memorial Day, 2008, I would like to thank each veteran who has answered our call to defend our country.
I had a few hours off one afternoon during a recent business trip up to Rockville, Maryland so I grabbed my Canon G9 and took the subway into downtown Washington DC. It was just a quick stroll — my main photo hint for this is to take a lot more time and a lot more pictures.
The World War II memorial is new since I was there last (many years ago). This is a photo of the Florida section.
The Vietnam Memorial always affects me deeply each time I see it. The gifts and tokens placed at the wall by loved ones of our fallen veterans, even after so many years is profoundly moving.
The suicide rate of veterans is at least three times the national suicide rate. In 2005, the suicide rate for veterans 18 to 24 years old was three to four times higher than non-veterans.
About 154,000 veterans nationwide are homeless on any given night. One-fourth of the homeless population is veterans.
There are more homeless Vietnam veterans than the number of soldiers who were killed during that war.
It takes at least 5.5 years, on average, to resolve a benefit claim with the Veteran’s Administration.
More than 600,000 unresolved claims are backlogged with the Veteran’s Administration.
Approximately 18.5 percent of service members who have returned from Afghanistan and Iraq currently have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or depression.
19.5 percent of these veterans report experiencing traumatic brain injury.
Roughly half of those who need treatment seek it, but only slightly more than half of those who receive treatment receive at least minimally adequate care, according to an April 2008 Rand Report.
As a citizen and a voter, I am ashamed of these numbers. Taking care of those that protect our country is a fundamental obligation of government. Each and every one of us should demand that our elected officials honor commitments we have made to veterans who have honored us with their service. Until we do so, Memorial Day seems a shallow honor at best.