Small Wars Journal

Memorial Day 2012



I. The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose among other things, "of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors, and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion." What can aid more to assure this result than cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their deaths the tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.

If our eyes grow dull, other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain to us. Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation's gratitude, the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan.

II. It is the purpose of the Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to lend its friendly aid in bringing to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.

III. Department commanders will use efforts to make this order effective.

By order of JOHN A. LOGAN,

Commander-in-Chief N.P. CHIPMAN,

Adjutant General Official: WM. T. COLLINS, A.A.G.


A lot of memories came to the surface tonight while watching the National Memorial Day Concert on PBS as I thought about a number of my brothers that have fallen over the years. Some I knew better than others, but they all left a lasting impression. Mike B. whose persistent positive attitude could get annoying at times, but he still managed to always make you laugh. Nothing would get him down, to include the suicide bomber that mortally wounded him. He fought hard against all odds to stay alive long enough to ensure his men were taken care of, and then hold on long enough to see his wife so could tell her he loved her and good bye before passed. Mike fell in Iraq. To Brad C. who was simply a genuinely good man and a phenomenal leader who touched everyone he knew. Officers, NCOs, and junior enlisted all looked up to Brad. He passed on his character to his children, and I’ll never forget his young son trying to comfort me at his funeral. Brad fell in Iraq. To young Andrew M. who went to high school with my son. He never let me forget when he beat me in a ski race in Germany. He joined the Army after a couple years of college, and was eventually assigned to a Stryker Bde at Ft. Lewis. Since we were both stationed at Fort Lewis, he came by my office shortly before he deployed to Afghanistan. He was high on life, he was a squad leader who worked hard to his squad ready for combat, he recently married, and his wife was pregnant. Andrew didn’t return from his deployment. Andrew, I’ll see you again someday and we’ll see who wins the next race. Until then we’ll miss you. Andrew fell in Afghanistan. To Nate C. who never quit volunteering. He was one of my grappling partners during combatives training, and fortunately he took it easy on me, because he easily had the strength to dislocate any of my joints. He was a gentle warrior who believed in fighting to free the oppressed. My last memory of Nate was when he came into one of our workouts carrying his new born son and Nate was smiling ear to ear, that was one of the last times I saw Nate alive, but it is a fitting memory of a man that loved life and loved people. Nate fell in Afghanistan. To big Jack S., we served together in Okinawa and frequently deployed together. Jack was a natural people person and a natural leader wherever we went. I had dinner with him and his wife a couple years after he retired and he seemed happy working for the Postal Service. That was the last time I saw him. Then out of the blue I get an e-mail from him, and he tells me he is in Afghanistan managing security forces because he didn’t feel right staying out of the fight. Those that know Jack understood, and they also wouldn’t be surprised to know his e-mail was full of humor as he described his job in Afghanistan, because that was Jack. Two weeks later Jack S. was killed by a suicide bomber. Jack didn’t die in uniform, but he did die as a Soldier. Jack fell in Afghanistan. As time passes the memories bring on more laughter than tears as I recall your lives, but I will always remember your sacrifice. Men like you made this country great. De Oppresso Liber

I am sometimes, nay often-times, embarrassed by the "thank you for your service" comments I get by those who find out that I am a USMC vet. I am alive and well. Memorial Day is a sacred day reserved for those who gave our great country their ultimate sacrifice. My cousin, PFC Roger Nesbit, Fox, 2/9, 3rd Marine Division; Vietnam Memorial Panel 32W Line 027; 20-years old/young; made that sacrifice on 13 February 1969, Quang Tri Province, RVN. His service and sacrifice were the major reasons I decided to join the Corps and he is the one I think about most often on this day of honor and remembrance. - Dave D.