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​​The Akeda Foundation

MEMORIAL DAY: AN OVERVIEW: THE LAST MONDAY IN MAY: HUMBLE BEGINNINGS TO A PLACE OF HONOR AND GREATNESS:

Memorial Day which originated as Decoration Day in 1882 and got its official name through an Act of Congress in 1967. The Uniform Monday   Holiday Act passed on June 28, 1968 created the three day weekend for four holidays including Memorial Day which was May 30 to the last Monday in May; effective 1971.The original flower(s) decoration of Union graves in 1868 by General John Logan was joined by those wishing to honor the dead soldiers of the Confederacy.

President Johnson declared Waterloo, New York   as the birthplace of Memorial Day in May 1966. The first speech offered at Arlington National Cemetery was by President James Garfield and is now part of “The Americana” landscape, while the first national Memorial Day Ceremony was held by President Herbert Hoover on May 30, 1929.


There is an irony in that the land (the Arlington House Estate) for Arlington located in Virginia came from General Robert E. Lee and his wife who was a descendant of Martha Washington. More than 400,000 are at their final resting place. Arlington celebrates its 151st Anniversary and is the resting place for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Presidents of the United States and other public figures in addition to the soldiers.

     Flags are always part of patriotic holidays. The protocol is to raise the flag to the top of the staff and then solemnly lower it to half -staff until noon, after which it is raised back to full staff for the rest of the day .The combination allows us to sanctify the more than a million service men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives. Upon returning the flag to full staff it symbolizes our resolve to not let their precious gift pass in vain.

Concerts with a decided military theme are part of the tradition .The largest live concert takes place on the Capital lawn to accompany the cable and T.V. specials.

Sports traditions are part of the “Americana” celebration featuring the Indianapolis 500 since 1911 when those immortal words …”Ladies and Gentlemen start your engines”… It seems almost that long hearing Jim Nabors (T.V’s Gomer Pyle ,USMC star) sing the Anthem for Indianapolis,”… as he would say “shazaam”…. Now we have the relatively new kid on the block The NASCAR Coca-Cola 600, the same day since 1961. For Golfers there’s the Memorial Tournament since 1976.

50TH anniversary of Ali-Liston Heavyweight Title rematch May 25, 1965-Boxing History: “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”…”A legend and icon is born. His lustre as one of the most beloved persons on the planet continues today and will forever.

     The world of Boxing changed during the Memorial Holiday weekend when Cassius Clay(Mohammed Ali) knocked out  challenger Sonny Liston in a title rematch within one (1)minute of the first round with a smashing overhand right to the jaw. Liston dropped like a ton of bricks. This was the quickest Title fight in history.

Captured on film, larger than life Ali standing over a sprawled out Liston exhorting him to get up. Leroy Neiman’s painting is a masterpiece capturing the moment.

I remember taking our old Philco radio apart making some adjustments and adding new tube to be able to listen to the fight. Horrible static notwithstanding, I had my front row seat at my bedroom desk. and like millions around the world, I was a witness to boxing history and the birth of a 21st Century icon, Mohammad Ali.


Shabbat Shalom-A Peaceful Sabbath/ Shavuah Tov-A Good Week.  Happy Memorial Day Weekend/ Best to All. Reb’Z /R’Z/Stu