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.
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 military. 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 the beginning of summer celebrations, will you be celebrating any of these military holidays in the merry, merry month of May?