Memorial Day is treated at the start of summer. Vacations, barbecues, picnics and parades.
The origins of Memorial Day are much more solemn than that. It began as local communities would honor the men who died in Civil War battles. In May 1866, Major General John A. Logan declared there should be a decoration day when all the graves of the Civil War would be decorated with flowers in their honor. He chose May 30 as a Decoration Day, according a theory, because the flowers would be in bloom around the country. The first observance was held at Arlington National Cemetery. The official birthplace of Memorial Day was declared by Congress and President Johnson in 1966 as the town of Waterloo, New York, where the entire community would close down and decorated the graves of the soldiers on May 30. It was not until after World War I, that all men and women who died in American wars were included in the observances. In 1971, Memorial Day was officially made a national holiday and moved to the last Monday in May.
There so many names which to be recognized and honor. There is one name which is very dear to me and the Bedard family.
His name is Corporal John M. Corcoran, USMC. He served in the 1St Battalion, 24th Marines, Able Company on Iwo Jima where he would die on 23 February 1945. He grew up with my grandfather, Ken, in Boston, Massachusetts. After joining the Marines, he would meet my grandmother, Ruby, in Los Angeles, California. He was my grandfather’s best friend and my grandmother’s boyfriend. The news of his death prompted my grandfather to give the news to my grandmother while on liberty in California. Without his death, my grandparents may never have met and I probably would not be here today. In more ways than one, one man had to die so that so many others could live.
Today, I honor Corporal Corcoran for his sacrifice as I honor the many other men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for me and my family. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. We may never know all of your names and what you did for this country but your sacrifice will never be forgotten by me or my family.