Photo by Valentino Funghi
Memorial Day: Remember and Honor
Often conflated with Veterans Day, which pays tribute to military veterans every November 11th, Memorial Day is the day we honor the women and men who died while serving in the US Armed Forces in all wars.
There are some things that Gold Star families want you to know this Memorial Day. From the Military Times,
"In today's world, some think Memorial Day is solely dedicated to the fallen from decades-old wars...'Freedom is not free,' and in our post 9/11 world, personal freedoms can't be taken for granted. All currently serving military personnel contribute in some way to protecting our freedoms; some pay dearly. Memorial Day is for honouring those who have recently died, too."
The origins of Memorial Day, initially called Decoration Day, date back to the Civil War - where the custom of decorating the graves of lost soldiers began. Its date (formally May 30th although always recognized at the end of May) was chosen expressly because it wasn’t associated with a specific battle. It became an official holiday in 1971.
Progress takes time...
LEST WE EVER FORGET
Quarantine won't stop us from remembering the fallen on Memorial Day
Memorial Day will be different this year. There may not be any large gatherings or services in France but we can still honor the men and women who lost their lives defending our freedoms.
Sleep, comrades, sleep and rest
On this Field of the Grounded Arms,
Where foes no more molest,
Nor sentry's shot alarms!
Ye have slept on the ground before,
And started to your feet
At the cannon's sudden roar,
Or the drum's redoubling beat.
Decoration Day by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Democrats Abroad France will be sending wreaths to be laid by the cemetery staff during small ceremonies around the country: Lafayette Monument and in Suresnes, Belleau Wood, Oise-Aisne, Meuse-Argonne. In the Tarn, flowers will be laid at the graves of the two OSS Commandos downed during WWII.
Wreaths will also be laid at the graves of those who died during World War I:
At the Lafayette Monument, Carter Ovington, a pilot who was downed and was never recovered will be remembered. He has a tomb in the crypt but is special in that he is M.I.A.
At Suresnes, Private Mitchell Davis will be remembered. A Howard University Law Graduate and one of the Afro-American soldiers who died during the “Spanish Flu” pandemic in 1918, he wrote a book entitled "One Hundred Choice Quotations" by Prominent Men and Women of the Negro Race:
"Through avalanches of prejudices; industrial barriers; professional intrigues; legal technicalities; diplomatic effronteries, and political buffetings, the American Negro has, at last arrived before the public eye, as a factor not easily to be evaded."
- One Hundred Choice Quotations by Prominent Men and Women of the Negro Race, 1917 by Mitchell Davis
At Belleau Wood, PVT Hercules Grays from the 369th Infantry Regiment also known as the “Harlem hellfighters” will be remembered. You can find more information on this unit here.
Another Afro-American, Private William Cuff will be honored at Oise-Asne. He is a recipient (Posthumous) of the American Distinguished Service Cross and the French Croix de Guerre with Bronze Star.
Also, consider posting pictures on social media of those you wish to honor and remember on Memorial Day. Or, ask those who were going to participate in a service to share a message from their home.
This social event is open to our members only due to limited seating. We welcome you all to come and interact with fellow Americans in the region and engage in American political discussions. So join us in our first ever Zoom Political Wine! Pour yourself a glass of rosé, and let’s chat.
For this month we will focus on that Joe Biden has said that he is going to choose a woman to be his vice presidential candidate. Which woman do you favor to be Joe Biden’s VP candidate? Our zoom meeting will be co-facilitated by Ruth Ann Lake.
In this Zoom meeting, there will a limitation of 20 virtual seats, so please RSVP NOW! If this event is sold out and all seats have been taken, you can join our waiting list by emailing email@example.com. The link to the Zoom meeting and password will be sent to you directly by email on June 2.
Join Saturday Phonebanking with the Youth Caucus!
This is a recurring event.
Every Saturday the DA France Youth Caucus is hosting a virtual phonebank (via Zoom) calling thousands of US Democratic voters living in France to make sure they are registered and ready to vote in critical Presidential, Senate and House races this fall. We need your help. You must be a member of Democrats Abroad France to help make these calls, if you aren't already: join here.
Get Trained with DA France
For the 90 minutes we will walk through phonebanking training using CallHub, including some new features specific to France. We can also answer questions you may have, and support each other as we call voters.
If you have done the training, and are comfortable phone banking, then you know you can make calls from home any time, to US voters around the world — there is no reason to wait until Saturday or join our Zoom to make calls, but please feel free to come by, say hi and share your experiences calling others.
1-2:30PM - Phonebanking Training
2:30-5PM - Phonebanking, Q&A
Sign up to become a call agent with CallHub: www.democratsabroad.org/phonebanking. It is also helpful to walk through the basic training materials available on this page
And please fill out our Volunteer Intake form, here.
Thanks! Happy calling!
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