The Last Full Measure of Devotion

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. For those who have, in the words of Abraham Lincoln in the Gettysburgh address, given the last full measure of devotion to their country.

Memorial Day was first officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868. It was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

Revolutionary War

Civil War

World War I

World War II

Korean War

Vietnam War

Iraq War

Today, Petticoats and Pistols pays tribute to the men and women who have fought and died for freedom.

In Flanders Field

John McCrae, 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.  

 

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14 thoughts on “The Last Full Measure of Devotion”

  1. Good post. So many people have forgotten what Memorial Day is all about. It has become a picnic weekend to kick off the summer. It is a time to remember not only those who lost their lives, but those they left behind. They are the ones who must deal with the results of that ultimate sacrifice the soldiers made: living without their soul mates, father, mother, son, daughter, brother, or sister.

    (No Vietnam War picture?)

    Thanks for the reminder.

  2. God bless our troops, past and present, especially
    those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. God
    bless their families also!

    Pat Cochran

  3. Thank you for the reminder, Mary, of what the day was for. Around here the graves of those who died whom serviced are always decorated with a flag but we do decorate the graves of all who are gone. This year will be the first to decorate the grave of my father, a WWII Purple Heart Veteran who recently passed away. The cemetaries are such beautiful peaseful places aroun Memorial Day but I love to wander them year round and make up stories of those who are gone or relive the life if it is someone I knew.

  4. I thought I had a Vietname War Picture included. I wonder where it went.
    My grandfather served in WWI.
    His lungs were injured by mustard gas and he was considered disabled his whole life.
    He had one child, my father, and I’ve always believed there would have been more children if Grandpa had been healthier. So I see my grandfather’s service as taking aunts and uncles from me. And Grandpa died before I was born, while he had five brothers who lived into their nineties. So I see his service as taking knowing a very nice grandfather from me.
    My father served in the Korean War. He and my mother married and two weeks later he left her to serve 18 months overseas. My mom can’t watch an airplane take off with out crying.
    These are the prices a family pays for freedom. And this keeps in mind that my grandpa survived, he married, he had a child. And my mom and dad were happy together for fifty years and had eight children.
    But war changed my family. We paid a price. All military families pay a price, some much higher than mine.
    God bless all the men and women who give not only that last full measure of devotion, but who give in smaller ways, and volunteer to give. And give proudly.

  5. UPDATE ALERT: I went to hunt up a Vietnam War picture, found one I liked, saved it, came back to P & P to load it and….found it already here. Labeled as the Korean War.
    So then I went into the picture gallery to add the NEW Korean War photo I found and found…a Korean War photo already there. I’d saved it into the gallery but didn’t get it loaded onto the blog for some reason!!!
    So I came really close to getting them all included. 🙂
    Korean War is now there and Vietnam War is now correctly labeled.

  6. This poem was written by the man who grew up in the city where I live… They still have his house and it is kept up by our local historical society and a park named for him too.. He lived in Guelph, Ontario Canada

  7. Thanks for the added work on your pics 🙂 My dad served in World War II as did my father-in-law and mother-in-law and my husband Vietnam. It definitely changes lives. Our American Legion had a beautiful Memorial Day Service last weekend (so as not to interfere with those picnics).

  8. Mary,
    What a lovely tribute to our service men and women, past and present. My father was classified 4F because of his lungs, so he wasn’t able to go serve in WWII. I know he always hated himself for that, even though it was no fault of his! He was one of the most patriotic souls I have ever known, and I think it was one of his biggest regrets that he was unable to serve. My husband and both of my sisters husbands served in Viet Nam. Yes, that war changed those men, for sure. Terrible nightmares, breakdowns, alcoholism and just general personality changes–these things have taken place in about every man I know who has served in that era. To me, one of the greatest sacrifices is having to see things that you can never put out of your mind and have to remember forever. That has to be a terrible burden for all of them. BTW, I don’t know if you remember this or not, but when I was little, I remember my great aunt selling “poppies” (artificial ones) for a dime each for Memorial Day for people to wear in their buttonhole on their shirts. The money went to the VFW, I think. Does anyone else remember that?

    I love the poem, In Flanders Field–just lovely. I think all of our kids should have to memorize that poem–we had to memorize High Flight when I was in school, which is also a beautiful poem, written by John G. McGee who was only 19 when he was killed. Thanks again for this post of yours! I appreciate it so much.

    Hugs,
    Cheryl

  9. Oh, Mary, I forgot to mention that down the street from me, there is a family who lost their son in Iraq a few years ago–he was about 21 or so when he was killed, just a boy, really. They had a beautiful poster made up of a collage of pictures of him — some of him by himself, some of him with his soldier friends, and one of him with his mom, dad and sister. It’s laminated and on spikes in the front yard with two little flags, one on either side. I have to pass it every time I go out of the neighborhood, and it just is so sad to think of his life being cut short. One day I saw his grandmother’s car in front of the house, and she had had a bumper sticker made up with this on it: In honor of Ryan Smith, my grandson, my hero. 1984-2005.
    Cheryl

  10. I wondered. The one that had been labeled the Korean war looked too recent. The uniforms, armament, helicopters , etc were just all wrong.
    I lost an uncle in the Korean war. He was an 18 year old medic. His 3 older brothers all served in WWII and came through unharmed, my dad among them. His younger brother served, luckily between Korea and Vietnam.

  11. I remember the poppies. It wasn’t that long ago that I saw them selling them. I called my dad and he said they are still selling them up his way in Northern NY State.

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