Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. It was first observed on May 30 1868, when the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery were decorated with flowers.
In 1915, Moina Michael wrote the following poem in honor of Memorial Day:
“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”
After she penned the poem, Moina Michael conceived the idea to wear red poppies on Memorial Day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war.
Michael, the first to wear a poppy, sold poppies to her friends and co-workers. The money raised from the sales was used to benefit servicemen in need.
The customary observance of Memorial Day has diminished over the years. Many Americans have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day.
At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored and neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day.
“To me Memorial Day is just like it sounds — it’s a day to remember and honor those who have preceded us,” said Jack Schroeder, active member of the Incline Village/Crystal Bay Veterans Club. “Officially the day is dedicated to commemorating fallen armed forces personnel. But to me, it also commemorates other heroes such as EMT, police and firemen first responders, doctors, nurses, and many others; and, perhaps most importantly — teachers.
“It is a day for remembrance.”
To help re-educate our community about the True Meaning of Memorial Day, the Tahoe Biltmore will host the 2013 Memorial Day Celebration.
The celebration will take place on Saturday, May 25, from noon to 2 p.m. The Tahoe Biltmore, in partnership with the Incline Village/Crystal Bay Veterans Club, operating under the auspices of IVGID Senior Programs; the Incline High School JROTC, under the direction of Bart Tragemann; and Local Boy Scouts Troop No. 37 will provide patriotic educational and commemorative opportunities for our community.
The program includes a free hot dog lunch provided for the community from noon to 1:30 p.m. followed by a slew of patriotic presentations from 1:30-2 p.m., which include:
Eagle Scouts/Boy Scouts presentation on flag retirement
Military Branch title songs
Flag folding demonstration by the JROTC
Pledge of Allegiance
National Anthem sung by Mariah Hartley from the Incline High School
Reading of Fallen Soldiers
Finale – playing of Taps
Three free hot dog lunch is being donated to the community in honor of valued Vveterans by the Tahoe Biltmore, IVGID and Pepsi.
A flag retirement station will be on hand. Bring your worn or damaged flags to the station and the Boys Scouts will respectfully and appropriately retire the flags during a future ceremony.
Weather permitting, a bounce house, chalk drawing and crafts will also be provided by the Biltmore for kids during the event. In addition, there will be literature and a video inside the hotel lobby from the “Always Lost” wall that is located in Washington, D.C.
“We are proud to be a part of this event along with Pepsi and IVGID to honor the sacrifice and bravery of our Veterans,” said Biltmore spokeswoman Kristi Freeto. “Their service for the sake of our country and ourfreedom is a gift to each and every one of us in this community. This weekend is a time to thank our Veterans and appreciate our blessings.”
The Memorial Day celebration at the Tahoe Biltmore has been a tradition for more than 12 years.
“Over the years the festival has come to mean more than just Memorial Day. It has also come to celebrate Incline Village and Crystal Bay’s Birthday,” Shroeder said. “The hot dogs are great and the joyous carnival atmosphere announces the start of summer. At the Biltmor,e it’s a day to rejoice in the end of winter, even though it may be snowing.”
This article was submitted to the Bonanza by IVGID, the Incline Village/Crystal Bay Veterans Club and the Tahoe Biltmore.