Sunday, May 25, 2014

Happy Memorial Day

I thought I should give everyone a bit of a history lesson since tomorrow is Memorial Day.  Smile!  So here goes.  Enjoy!

Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans - the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) -established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers.  Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be ovserved on May 30.  It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.  The first large observance was held that year at Arlington Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

The ceremonies centered around the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington mansion, once the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee.  Various Washington officials, including Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, presided over the ceremonies.  After speeches, children from the Soldiers' and Sailors' Orphan Home and members of the GAR made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns.

Local springtime tributes to the Civil War dead already had been held in various places.  One of the first occurred in Columbus, Miss., April 25, 1866, when a group of women visited a cemetery to decorate the graves of Confederate soldiers who had fallen in battle at Shiloh.  Nearby were the graves of Union soldiers, neglected because they were the enemy.  Disturbed at the sight of the bare graves, the women placed some of their flowers on those graves as well.

Today, cities in the North and the South claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day in 1866.  Both Macon and Columbus, Ga., claim the title, as well as Richmond, Va.  The village of Boalsburg, Pa., claimes it began theirs two years earlier.  A stone in a Carbondale, Ill., cemetery carries the statement that the first Decoration Day ceremony took place there on April 29, 1866.  Carbondale was the wartime home of Gen. Logan.

Approximately 25 places have been named in connection with the origin of Memorial Day, many of them in the South where most of the war dead were buried.  The official birthplace of Memorial Day was declared in 1966 by the Congress and President Lyndon Johnson to be in Waterloo, N.Y.  There, a ceremony on May 5, 1866, honored local veterans who had fought in the Civil War.  Businesses closed and residents flew flags at half-staff. Supporters of Waterloo's claim say earlier observances in other places were either informal, not community-wide or one-time events.

By the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held on May 30 throughout the nation.  State legislatures passed proclamations designating the day, and the Army and Navy adopted regulations for proper observance at their facilities.  It was not until after World War I, however that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars.  In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress, though it is still often called Decoration Day.  It was then also placed on the last Monday in May, as were some other federal holidays.

There are even some States who have Confederate Observances. You can find more information at the below link:

We have many Memorial Day events in the Kansas City, Missouri area, and one such event is held at the World War 1 Museum and Liberty Memorial.  Even if you don't go on Memorial Day this museum is well worth visiting.  I prefer to go when it's not crowded because I like to take my time.  There is a lot to see there. 

Liberty Memeorial and WWI Museum
Here is a link where you can get more information about the museum and Liberty Memorial.

I want to dedicate this blog to all of our servicemen and women, and thank you for giving so much to keep our way of life. 
Now, I want to end with a quote from General George S. Patton Jr. (1885-1945) - "It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.  Rather we should thank God that such men lived."

Personally, I'm thankful for all of our military.  Thank you for reading.  Have a wonderful week, and I'll see you next Sunday.
God Bless America!

Sandra K. Marshall, Author  

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Summer Dangers

There are so many summer dangers such as ticks (lyme disease), swimming in pools, lakes and ponds (drowning and snake bites), and more road rage, which can be any time not just in the summer. 

For the purpose of this blog, I'm going to talk about motorcycles and road workers because they are mainly affected during the warm weather.   Recently, in our area a driver didn't notice traffic was stopped, and the driver smashed a motorcycle and rider into a truck killing the man on the bike. 

Orange cones show there is road work
Where there are orange cones there's roadwork


Also, recently, a road worker was hit and killed by a speeding driver.  When there is a sign saying road work ahead you need to start slowing down and obey the speed limit in the area.  In a work zone, the speed limit is going to 45 miles per hour, or lower, but I see drivers going 60 or 70 miles an hour. 

I think drivers need to stop and think how they'll feel if they kill someone.  You would have to live with yourself knowing you did something so horrific just because you were in a hurry.  To me, getting somewhere is not important enough to take a life. 

Both road workers and motorcycles are hard to see, so you need to pay attention to your driving instead of texting, talking on the phone, putting on makeup, or reaching for something.  Over 4,000 motorcyclists die a year and 609 road construction workers died in 2012, but not all of those were due to drivers.  Some were due to accidents on the job.

Not all motorcyclists are killed by other motorists; sometimes it's by their own stupidity by driving and drinking. 

Just remember to watch out for your children around water areas, watch out for road workers and motorcyclists.  In other words, try to pay attention to what you and others are doing. 
To learn more go to the links below: 
Have a great week, and I'll see you again next Sunday. 

Sandra K. Marshall, author
@Eirelander Publishing

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day Origins

First of all I want to wish the mother's visiting my blog a Happy Mother's Day.  One might think Mother's Day originated here in America, but that is not the so.  I started wondering when we started celebrating our mothers, so proceeded to do some research. 

It is thought that Mother's Day was celebrated by ancient Romans some 250 years before Christ, but I'm not going to go that far back.  The fourth Sunday of lent was celebrated by early Christians in honor of the Virgin Mary, Christ's mother.  The ancients Greeks, also, celebrated mothers.

In the U.K. the celebration was expanded to include all mothers and was called Mothering Sunday.  This tradition was started in the 1600's in England when Mothering Sunday was celebrated on the fourth day of lent, which included service in church to honor Virgin Mary.  Children brought sweets and flowers in order to express love toward their own mothers. 

Even those who worked away from their families were encouraged to visit their mothers and honor them.  By the 19th century, the custom of celebrating Mothering Sunday almost completely died out although there are certain accounts of some celebrations after World War II. 

Julia Ward Howe, an activist, writer and poet was the first to suggest the idea of official celebration of the Mother's Day.  In her famous Mothers Day Proclamation, written in Boston in 1870 she wrote a passionate appeal to women and urged them rise against war.  She suggested a day of honor for mothers in June; she also initiated a Mothers' Peace Day observance on second Sunday in June.  Her idea, backed by her relentless campaigns and calls for the official day later spread and replaced Mother's Peace Day.

Anna Jarvis is often referred to as the 'Mother of Mothers Day is considered to be the found of the celebration in the US.  The activist was inspired by her own mother, Anna Marie Reeves Jarvis, who wanted to see the existence of Mother's Day.

After much lobbying, campaigns and awareness programs, her hard work paid off.  By 1911, almost all the states in the United States celebrated Mother's day.  On May 8, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a Joint Resolution designating the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day.

People all around the world take the day as an opportunity to pay tribute to their mothers and than them for all their love and support.  Mother's Day is celebrated today in these countries these countries: US, India, Denmark, Finland, Italy Turkey, Australia, Mexico, Canada and many more. 

Happy Mother's Day!  To my mother, I love you and still miss you. You were the best and anyone who has a great mother is lucky. Have a great week and see you next Sunday. 

Sandra K. Marshall, author
@ Eirelander Publishing

Sunday, May 4, 2014

May Day

May Day Basket
When I was a kid on May Day, we danced around the Maypole.  We each had a streamer or ribbon that was attached to the Maypole, and as we moved around the pole we wrapped it with the ribbons.  Another tradition was to take a basket of goodies, or flowers to a neighbor's house, or grandma's house, ring the bell and run to hide.  We waited behind a tree or the corner of the house to wait for whomever answered the door.  We would watch their surprise at finding the gift, but they always spotted us. 

I decided to do a little research on May Day, and I found some surprises.  Did you know in Hawaii, May Day is, also, called Lei Day?  It is a day set aside to celebrate island culture and the culture of Native Hawaiians in particular. 

On May Day, Bulgarians celebrate Irminden (or Yeremiya, Eremiya, Irima, Zamski den). The holiday is associated with snakes and lizards and rituals are made in order to protect people from them. The name of the holiday comes from the prophet Jeremiah, but its origins are probably pagan.

May Day has been celebrated in Ireland since pagan times as the feast of Bealtaine and in latter times as Mary's day. Traditionally, bonfires were lit to mark the coming of summer and to banish the long nights of winter. Officially Irish May Day holiday is the first Monday in May. Old traditions such as bonfires are no longer widely observed, though the practice still persists in some places across the country. Limerick, Clare and many other people in other counties still keep on this tradition such as the town of Arklow in Co. Wicklow.

In rural regions of Germany, especially the Harz Mountains, Walpurgisnacht celebrations of pagan origin are traditionally held on the night before May Day, including bonfires and the wrapping of a Maibaum (maypole). Young people use this opportunity to party, while the day itself is used by many families to get some fresh air. Motto: "Tanz in den Mai!" ("Dance into May!"). In the Rhineland, May 1 is also celebrated by the delivery of a maypole, a tree covered in streamers to the house of a girl the night before. The tree is typically from a love interest, though a tree wrapped only in white streamers is a sign of dislike. Females usually place roses or rice in form of a heart at the house of their beloved one. It is common to stick the heart to a window or place it in front of the doormat.

On May 1, 1561, King Charles IX of France received a lily of the valley as a lucky charm. He decided to offer a lily of the valley each year to the ladies of the court. At the beginning of the 20th century, it became custom to give a sprig of lily of the valley, a symbol of springtime, on May 1.

In Great Britain, the traditional English May Day rites and celebrations include Morris dancing, crowning a May Queen and celebrations involving a maypole. Much of this tradition derives from the pagan Anglo-Saxon customs held during "Þrimilci-mōnaþ" (the Old English name for the month of May meaning Month of Three Milkings) along with many Celtic traditions. They have many more traditions, which can be found at

Most people living in the United States know little about the International Workers' Day of May Day.  For many others there is an assumption that it is a holiday celebrated in state communist countries like Cuba or the former Soviet Union.  Most Americans don't realize that May Day has its orgins here in this country and is as American as baseball and apple pie, and stemmed from the pre-Christian holiday of Beltane, a celebration of rebirth and fertility.

In the late nineteenth century, the working class was in constant struggle to gain the 8 hour work day.  Working conditions were severe and it was quite common to work 10 to 16 hour days in unsafe conditions.  Death and injury were commonplace at many work places and inspired such books as Upton Sinclair's The Jungle and Jack London's The Iron Heel.  As early as the 1860's, working people agitated to shorten the workday without a cut in pay, but it wasn't until the late 1880's that organized labor was able to garner enough strength to declare the 8-hour workday. 

Ironically, May Day is celebrated as International Workers' Day in 66 countries as an official holiday and unofficially celebrated in many more, but rarely is it recognized in this country where it began. 

There is much more to be found on this topic at  I recommend it as a read because there's a possibility history will repeat itself. 

Thank you for reading.  Have a great week and come back next Sunday. 

Sandra K. Marshall