Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo
These notes and this day give Idahoans and Americans across the world the chance to remember those who have defended our freedom across generations.
While there is debate about where the first Memorial Day was held, most agree it began in 1866. In 1868, Major General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic chose May 30.
General Logan's orders stated that his posts should decorate graves "with the choicest flowers of springtime" and he directed his troops to "guard their graves with sacred vigilance. ... Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no 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."
This year, Memorial Day falls again in a time of war. Families and friends have lost loved ones in Iraq and Afghanistan. Almost 1,800 American lives have been lost in combat zones worldwide since 2001. Almost 13,000 have been wounded in the same time period. Over the past four years, more than a dozen Idaho troops have given their lives in the cause of freedom. Many others bear scars, visible and invisible, from the ongoing war on terror. Idahoans know well the cost of a "free and undivided republic."
We honor those who have given their lives in the current conflict as well as those who have sacrificed in past wars; at the same time we focus thoughts and prayers on those defending our freedom today, especially our deployed Idaho troops.
These men and women uphold Idaho's proud tradition of fighting for the safety and preservation of the United States of America. Soldiers of the 116th, Marines and Airmen, reserve, guard and active duty, have temporarily left Idaho to answer the call of a country in need. This Memorial Day, we celebrate their bravery, patriotism and sense of duty. We thank them for their sacrifice and happily anticipate their safe and healthy return.
Words that have been put to Taps since the Civil War impart a thoughtful sense of peace.
Taps is more than a farewell. It is an eloquent and simple prayer of peaceful rest and safety for our loved ones in harm's way.