V-E Day

6 05, 2019

Busy, Busy Month of May

By |2019-05-02T21:40:39-05:00May 6th, 2019|Holidays, Make Me Think Monday|2 Comments

May signals the beginning of summer. Senior proms and pomp and circumstance graduation celebrations fill the days. End of school parties occupy weekends even before that last bell rings.

The month is also full of military observances. Four to be exact.

  1. May 8 is V-E Day (Victory in Europe)

On this day in 1945 the World War II Allies formally accepted the unconditional surrender of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich.

A copy of The New York Times published May 8, 1945, bearing Kennedy’s scoop (AP/Rick Bowmer)

A side note about the day:

The news came to the U.S. via Edward Kennedy— not the late Democratic senator from Massachusetts but a man by the same name who was the chief correspondent in Europe for the AP in 1945 and had watched the signing in person.

Unfortunately, Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Dwight Eisenhower had imposed a news blackout on the surrender, under orders from President Truman. Kennedy defied the order and sent the news out anyway.

His defiance backfired instead of the greatest scoop of his career, it was the scoop from. Allied headquarters stripped away his press credentials, denounced him personally for breaking the rules, and expelled him from liberated France to New York, where the AP promptly fired him. In 2012, he finally won a posthumous apology.

Newsbreak or unethical double cross? That is the question even among news reporters today. In our day of Twitter and Instagram, it’s hard to believe Kennedy was the only reporter in 1945 willing to break the news blackout.

  1. Armed Forces Day on May 19.

The day set aside to show appreciation to all active duty service members. Not to be confused with Veterans Day (November 11) or Memorial Day (May 27 this year). Both of those days commemorate the men and women who died while in the military service.

  1. May 22 is National Maritime Day.

The day set aside to observe the U.S.’s proud maritime heritage and honor the men and women who serve and have served as merchant mariners.

  1. May 27 is Memorial Day.

Originally called Decoration Day, many wear red poppies on Memorial Day which symbolize the red poppies that grew on a battlefield in Belgium during World War I and immortalized by Canadian Lt. Colonel John McCrae’s poem, In Flanders Fields.

Moina Michaels, an American professor, wrote her own poem in 1918.She was also the first to wear a poppy, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money benefiting servicemen in need. Four years later, the VFW became the first veterans’ organization to sell poppies nationally.

A little side note about this day:

A Memorial Day picnic and poppies play a prominent role in the love story of Green Beret Alex Cabot and Department of Army Civilian Lily Reed, The Pendant’s Promise.

Then there are high school graduations, college graduations, birthday parties, and Mothers’ Day.

Last important day in May, though not nationally celebrated or recognized, is our wedding anniversary on May 30. Fifty-six years and counting—a rarity these days.

8 05, 2012

The Merry, Merry Month of May

By |2012-05-08T10:32:53-05:00May 8th, 2012|Uncategorized|5 Comments

While many of us consider this month to signal the beginning of summer, we also need to think about all the military centered observances in May.

Today is one of four dates set aside for honoring military in the U.S.

On Tuesday 8 May 1945 the World War II Allies formally accepted the unconditional surrender of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich. Today we celebrate that victory. 

There’s a fascinating story of the firing of Edward Kennedy the AP correspondent who broke the story– perhaps the greatest scoop in history– and was then furiously denounced and expelled from liberated France. He won a posthumous apology from an ungrateful employer after 50 years last Friday. Click here  to read.

Then on May 19th we celebrate Armed Forces Day.

May 22th is National Maritime Day. A day set aside to observe the U.S.’s proud maritime heritage and honor the men and women who serve and have served as merchant mariners.

Lastly, May 28th is Memorial Day. Originally called Decoration Day, it’s a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. Many wear red poppies on Memorial Day which symbolize the red poppies that grew on a battlefield in Belgium during World War I and immortalized by Canadian Lt. Colonel John McCrae’s poem, In Flanders Fields.

Moina Michaels, an American professor, was inspired to write her own poem in 1918, which included the lines:

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led.
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

Michaels was the first to wear a poppy, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money benefiting servicemen in need. Four years later, the VFW became the first veterans’ organization to nationally sell poppies. 

You’ll find a reference to the poem in my soon-to-be released book The Pendant’s Promise. And, a Memorial Day picnic plays a prominent role in the love story of Alex and Lily.

May is indeed a month with opportunities to honor our miitary. On each of these days, my family will be pausing to remember and recognize those of have and are serving. And, no doubt, we’ll all be hearing TAPS played at one or more of these celebrations. It’s the song generally played on a bugle or trumpet that sounds at dusk, during flag ceremonies, at funerals, particularly by the U.S. military, and often at Boy Scout and Girl Scout/Guide meetings and camps. 

I recently learned that  2012 is the 150th anniversary of TAPS. Read the complete story of TAPS from blogger Diane Kalas

Besides the end-of-school/graduation parties and beginning of summer celebrations,  will you be celebrating any of these military holidays in the merry, merry month of May?