Memorial Day has its beginnings in the Civil War, a war in which the scale of destruction was astonishing not only in the number of lives it claimed, but also in the effects on the nation’s soul for generations after it ended.
Abraham Lincoln asked the nation in his Gettysburg Address 160 years ago “to be dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain…”
Each Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine killed in the line of duty is more than a number. They had families who loved them and who bore the scars and the loneliness of their absence. Each year on Memorial Day we have the opportunity to honor the memory and the sacrifices of these fallen warriors.
The CGSC Foundation encourages all Americans to honor Memorial Day for its intended purpose and to participate in the National Moment of Remembrance on the afternoon of Monday, May 29 – taking a moment of silence to remember and honor the fallen.
The greater Fort Leavenworth community is also welcome to post a memorial or share a message of remembrance on the banner outside the CGSC Foundation office and gift shop located inside the Lewis and Clark Building (100 Stimson Ave. Suite 1149 Fort Leavenworth, KS). After sharing your memorial, please take a poppy provided by VFW Post 56.
Wreaths of remembrance may also be sponsored through the CGSC Foundation’s Wreaths Across America campaign. For many years, the CGSC Foundation has partnered with Wreaths Across America to honor Veterans. In 2023, the Foundation has been assigned the 800 graves in the cemetery, with a larger goal of helping place a wreath on every grave – more than 23,000 – in the cemetery. Together with other local Wreaths Across America groups, the Foundation’s goal is to place a wreath of remembrance at every Veteran’s grave at the Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery this holiday season.
Foundation President/CEO Col. (Ret.) Roderick Cox has said, “It’s more than a wreath…it’s an effort to impress upon all Americans the importance of the sacrifices of veterans in this country.”
For more information and to sponsor a wreath, click the link below.
From now through Memorial Day, when you sponsor a wreath “In Honor or In Memory of” and elect to post a message on the Wreaths Across America’s “Remember” page, you’ll be entered into a raffle to receive 100 wreaths for the Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery or the veterans cemetery of your choice.
To sponsor a wreath and enter the raffle:
- Click the link above to visit the CGSC Foundation’s WAA page
- Click “Sponsor Wreaths”
- Select the “In Honor and Memory of” option
- Fill out the form and select “yes” to post a message on Wreaths Across America’s “Remember” page
More About Memorial Day:
- Memorial Day was first established in 1868 as Decoration Day and observed on May 30.
- No other wars have claimed as many American lives as the Civil War, which left somewhere between 600,000 to 750,000 dead, or roughly 2% of the population at the time.
- In World War II, roughly 400,000 Americans died, about 1/3 of one percent of the population – then about 133 million.
- In Vietnam just under 60,000 U.S. service members perished.
- In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday and moved it to the last Monday in May along with other federal holidays.
- In 2000, in an effort to put the “memorial” back in Memorial Day, Congress passed the National Moment of Remembrance Act. At 3 p.m. on Memorial Day, all Americans are asked to voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a one-minute moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to “Taps.”
- Since 2001, about 7,000 Americans or 2/10ths of one percent of our 300 million-person country have died in combat areas in the Middle East and elsewhere around the world in the War on Terror.