Memorial Day Message
by Dr. David Marion - 41st Grand Basileus. OPPF Editorial Board. May 22, 2020.
This month we recognize the 75th anniversary of the Victory in Europe Day (“VE Day”) during World War II and the eventual conclusion of one of the bloodiest wars in world history that claimed over 70 million lives.
This conflict ended by the resolve of brave men and women who went above and beyond the call of duty to secure the freedoms we so enjoy today.
It is with honor we take time on this Memorial Day to pay homage to those brave patriots of our great fraternity, as well as other men and women of our armed forces who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Although Memorial Day is a traditional American holiday observed on the last Monday of May honoring the men and women who died while serving in the United States military, as an international organization, we also extend honor and recognition to our international brothers who may have likewise made the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of their own nations.
Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, Memorial Day, (originally known as Decoration Day) was declared a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. It was officially declared a federal holiday in 1971.
One of the first observances occurred when a group of women visited a cemetery to decorate the graves of fallen Confederate soldiers. The women were disturbed to discover that the graves of Union soldiers had been neglected because they were considered the enemy. The women placed some of their flowers on those graves as well.
Yet, some records show that one of the earliest Memorial Day commemorations was organized by a group of freed slaves in Charleston, South Carolina, months after the Confederacy surrendered in 1865.
Many brothers have traditionally observed Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or constructing memorials, holding family gatherings and barbecues, participating in parades or taking their families to the beach. However, under the present COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, I encourage brothers to adhere to the CDC guidelines and prioritize the health and safety of themselves and their families.
Regardless of your planned activities for this weekend, please reflect upon the sacrifices these brave men and women made.
Since the early years of Omega, in the fell clutch of conflict or humanitarian relief, Omega men have stood strong and placed themselves in harm’s way – leading and persevering, in selfless service.
As we observe this Memorial Day, let us be mindful of those brothers who paid with their lives and sadly left behind family, friends, brothers, and loved ones. It remains “duty from one brother to another” to preserve their legacy and to keep their families uplifted.
It is with sincere pride that we salute these brave souls for their “service and sacrifice.”