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Sunday, March 7, 2021

TSD History Corner: Memorial Day Ponderings

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Folks, in her stirring poem, “America, The Beautiful,” Katherine Lee Bates {1859-1929 } succinctly described the why of Memorial Day when she wrote:

“O beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life!”

In honor of those courageous individuals whom Bates described as loving their country over life itself, let us this Memorial Day, join together, in remembrance of their sacrifice. Just for one moment reflect, if you will, what might have been had they not done what they did, when they did it.

What kind of freedom would we now enjoy if a Crispus Attucks didn’t have the courage to protest the British tyranny in Boston in 1770? Attuck’s supreme sacrifice happened in what we know as the Boston Massacre and it was a defining and galvanizing moment in our history. Remember the Boston Massacre became a rallying cry for the American Colonists.

We are what we are because there was a Nathan Hale who in 1776 had only one regret, “he only had one life to lose for his country.” It’s due to the Attucks and Hales that we have inaugurations instead of coronations.

We are a United States of America because there was an Abraham Lincoln in 1861. Although there may be controversy over the reason for the Civil War, there is no denying one of its most noble results, was the emancipation of slaves. This was a case where the oppression of the oppressed was not relieved by a revolution, but by the actions of the brothers of the oppressors.

We don’t kow-tow to a Kaiser because the poet Joyce Kilmer gave his life in 1918 in WW I to prevent it. Kilmer, if remembered at all, is remembered for his endearingly famous poem, Trees.

The absolute uniqueness of our form of government was testified to by the overseas service of four sons of former president, Theodore Roosevelt, in WW I. One son, Quentin, was shot down in a plane and killed.

Memorial Day, sometimes called Decoration Day, is a day set aside in honor of those U.S. servicemen and women who gave their lives for their country. It’s with sorrowful pride that I list my brother, Stanley J. Wysocki, who was awarded the Silver Star posthumously for his bravery in WW II.

Memorial Day/Declaration Day was established in 1868 by General John Logan, commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic {GAR}. The GAR was an association of U.S. veterans.

In the commemoration of all our fallen heroes we in essence give meaning to their unselfish deeds, and in the process add some glue to the fragile fabric of our society.

There was a Greek centuries ago, Aristotle, who was wise enough to discern that; “The destiny of one person is closely connected with the destiny of the society in which he lives. A person so self-sufficient that he needs nothing from society is either an animal or a god.”

The British poet, Robert Laurence Binyon, in his WW I ode, For The Fallen, wrote:

“They went with songs to battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow,
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe,
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.”


Today’s TSD History Corner comes from Alex F. Wysocki, who is a Veteran of WWII, served in the Pacific Theater and was part of the original occupation of Japan. He has a passion for the history of state he was born in, Delaware.

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253,535 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered as of Friday, the state said.

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