Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, was established by General John Logan in 1868 as a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. It should not be confused with the start of the backyard barbeque season or the opening of the swimming pool. The first observance was held on May 30, 1868 and flowers were placed on the graves of union and confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.
Now, Memorial Day activities are held all over the country to honor our war dead ranging from a wreath laying to just a simple moment of pause to reflect on their sacrifice. At Arlington National Cemetery there will be the traditional wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers and “Flags-in.” During “Flags-in,” the 3rd U.S. Infantry (Old Guard) will place a small American flag at each of the 260,000 grave markers and 7,300 niches in the cemetery’s columbarium.
This Memorial Day take the time to pause and reflect on the sacrifices of all of our fallen military heroes, especially Staff Sergeant Hersal B. Cralle, Ensign Michael Henry Korn and Private 1st Class Julius M. Vajda. All were members of the Capitol Heights Volunteer Fire Department, who were called to serve during World War II. These men are decorated war heroes who lost their lives so others could live free. A dedication plaque honoring these men is installed on the front of the fire station. We can never repay them for their sacrifice. However, we can keep them in our hearts and minds so they are never forgotten.
To read more about these members, visit the Capitol Heights Volunteer Fire Department’s website Veteran’s page at www.chvfd.org/veterans/.