Why We Celebrate Memorial Day

Everyone knows we celebrate Memorial Day on the last Monday in May, but few know the history of that holiday.

On May 5, 1868, it was declared a holiday by the Grand Army of the Republic, a fraternal organization of Union veterans, as a time to decorate the graves of the Civil War dead with flowers.  Originally called Decoration Day, its first large celebration was held May 30, 1868, at Arlington National Cemetery.  Many Washington officials, including General Ulysses S. Grant, attended.

It wasn’t until after World War I that it was expanded to honor the dead in all American wars.  In 1971 Memorial Day was declared a National Holiday.

The numbers of Americans who died in war are humbling.

In my family, my Great, Great Grandfather, Cpl. Henry J. Bridges, joined the Union Army and fought in the Knoxville campaign, a series of small battles in East Tennessee important for keeping Confederate Gen. James Longstreet tied up and unable to reinforce Gen. Braxton Bragg at the Battle of Chattanooga.  My Great, Great Grandfather died, not in battle, but of cholera in winter quarters following the campaign on January 7, 1864.  In the Civil War more soldiers died of disease than from battle wounds.

I’m sure many church members have similar stories from their past, soldiers and sailors who died preserving this country from destruction, without and within.  It was their blood sacrifice that has kept the United States the greatest and most remarkable nation in human history.

That is why we celebrate Memorial Day.

Jim Shields

Veterans Heritage Project Memorial Day Activities

A Thank You Message from Troop Care Ministry

We are pleased to announce that, through your generous donations, we were able to donate $4,030 worth of grocery gift cards to the Luke AFB Airman and Family Readiness Center this year.

Our annual gift card drive ended in February and, while Covid-19 did bring the cards donated at church down about 15% this year, thanks to the generous cash donations we’ve received we were able to increase the donation of cards by 5%.  These things are especially important during the pandemic, and DHPC has come through again for the troops in need in the local community.  The Chief of the Readiness Center, Mr. McCarty, couldn’t emphasize enough the difference it makes, especially after Christmas and before Easter.

The Troop Care Ministry is exceedingly grateful for the support of the congregation in their donations; we also ask that you say a prayer for those serving our Country and thank you for making some of their lives a little better.