Brothers, it’s time for our next rendition of the Message from the West. From the pulpit of the Senior Warden I would like to speak a bit about this month’s theme, The Memorial Holiday.
First, Let’s start off with a bit of trivia and history
- Memorial Day is only an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Memorial Day 2022 will occur on Monday, May 30, and became an official federal holiday in 1971.
- Did you know that Memorial Day was originally called “Decoration Day”?
- Each year on Memorial Day a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.
- In 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day. It celebrated the day on May 5, 1866—was chosen because it hosted an annual, community-wide event, during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags. On May 5, 1866, the Village was decorated with flags at half mast, draped with evergreens and mourning black
- For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30, the date General Logan had selected for the first Decoration Day. But in 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees. The change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.
Early Observances of Memorial Day
The Civil War, which ended in the spring of 1865, claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history and required the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries.
The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.
By the late 1860s, Americans in various towns and cities had begun holding springtime tributes to these countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers.
Anyone who would like to know more about this holiday, it’s traditions, or significance, please let me know.
As a Veteran myself, Memorial Day is significant to me. I have personal opinions about the loss of friends and loved ones amidst highly dramatic events of geopolitical nature in the name of Freedom.
As a Mason the values of Patriotism and freedom are at our core, more especially here, not just as a Mason within the United States, but in Pennsylvania. Our very roots are deep and strong in the thick of it all.
This month, allow us to pay tribute and homage to our dearly departed, be it Brothers in Arms or Brother in Blue. Remembering is a way to keep them alive in our hearts and provide the opportunity for their legacy to carry on.
I will close this month with a reminder, though somber in nature to address our own mortality, please remember that if it is YOUR wish to have Masonic services when you pass through the West Gate, you may complete and submit the Grand Lodge of PA Masonic last wishes form, which I will attach to this message. Your family may also request on your behalf, but this form certainly reduces the ambiguity. And please, Brothers, if you have the opportunity to remember the Lodge in your final words, it would go a long way to both keep Mt. Pickering moving forward as well as to honor your memory.
Mt Pickering Lodge No. 446