11 May 2007

Veterans Pride: Memorial Day

Memorial Day was first established in 1868 to honour those soldiers - both Union and Confederate - who died in the US Civil War; it has since been expanded to include all of America's dead from all wars. (Note that Memorial Day is for deceased veterans. Living veterans are honoured on Veterans' Day, in November.) The traditional date for Memorial Day is 30 May, but this year, under the National Holiday Act of 1971 (the "Monday Holiday Bill"), it will be observed on the 28th.

ZUI SecVet Jim Nicholson's message regarding Veterans Pride:
One of the things that stood out during the day-long [ANZAC Day] ceremonies [in Sydney, Australia, in 2006] was how all of the veterans and surviving family members wore their medals and campaign ribbons. It focused public pride and attention on those veterans as individuals with personal histories of service and sacrifice for the common good.

That is why I am calling on America's veterans to wear their military medals on Veterans Day, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. Wearing their medals demonstrates the deep pride our veterans have in their military service and reminds all American citizens of the sacrifices our veterans have made.

Veterans, wear your pride on your left side on patriotic holidays! Let America know who you are and what you did for freedom.

A Veterans Pride brochure to be printed out can be found here.

The photos below were taken at the 2005 ANZAC Day celebration in Canberra, and illustrate what Mr Nicholson is referring to. The gentleman with the yellow tie who is wearing miniature medals on his right side is honouring a deceased relative, probably his father.*

* From the RAAF Manual of Dress, Chapter 4:
Wearing Medals of Deceased Relatives
52. On ANZAC Day, personnel not participating in an official RAAF or tri-Service contingent or guard of honour may wear medals (in uniform or civilian dress) of a deceased relative, passed down in direct line from grandparents and parents. The medals are to be worn on the right breast and should be worn only on ANZAC Day.

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