In Hawaii, today's remembrances are the sweet plumeria lei that drape each of the 35,000 graves at Punchbowl's National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. The Hawaiian name for this peaceful crater cemetery is Puowaina, "Hill of Sacrifice."
Albert Einstein once said, "We must be prepared to make heroic sacrifices for the cause of peace that we make ungrudgingly for the cause of war. There is no task that is more important or closer to my heart."
Memorial Day, originally called "Decorations Day," is a national holiday that is celebrated on the last Monday in May. A day of remembrance, the tradition goes back to the end of the American Civil War when women put flowers on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers.
"All wars are civil wars, because all men are brothers." said poet François Fénelon.
On this patriotic holiday, we honor servicemen and women who have died in war in the U.S. and every country where Americans are buried. We celebrate these people who made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom, what Abraham Lincoln called that "last full measure of devotion."
We salute them with parades and decorate their graves with flowers and flags.
During World War I, poppies represented the lives lost in battle. Today paper Buddy Poppies are sold by veteran groups and worn in remembrance. At Arlington National Cemetery, in solemn ceremony, a wreath is placed at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
"What is there to do when people die -- people so dear and rare -- but bring them back by remembering," observed poet May Sarton.
Sow good to bear sweetness.