Congress has named Waterloo, New York as the “birthplace of Memorial Day” (House Resolution 587 ). It was there, on May 5th 1866, that the Waterloo community began an annual service to commemorate fallen soldiers. It is estimated that 620,000 soldiers across the United States gave their lives in the Civil War conflict. Every community in the nation had reason to grieve and the commemoration ministered to the need of the living to honor those lost. The early ceremonies included elaborate decorating of graves which led to the popular name “Decoration Day”. Federal law declared “Memorial Day” the official name in 1968.
Georgia also has a Memorial Day contribution to the history books. Georgia native Moina Michael, a teacher and volunteer war worker, began the successful fundraiser of selling poppies in order to benefit veterans in 1915. The idea of the poppy was inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields” by Lt. Col. John McCrea, a WWI officer who composed the poem on the battlefields of Belgium on May 3, 1915.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
Memorial Day is a somber reminder of the great price that has been paid for us to enjoy our freedoms; West Georgia Eye Care Center considers it a privilege and an honor to provide eye care to our area veterans and their families. We are pleased to offer military discounts for many services, and to be a participating TRICARE provider. If you are a veteran with questions about our services, please contact our VA specialist, Kathy Wagner, at 706-323-3491 ext. 7536. We appreciate your service!