T.B McGuire Foundation President Dick Isackson and Parade of Wreath Annual Memorial Day Essay Winners Alyssa Blackmire, 6th grade and Xiala Cobb, 5th grade of the North Hanover Township Upper Elementary School.

by Xiala Cobb
5th grade, Upper Elementary School
I breathe in the fresh air of freedom. Red, white and blue dance in the middle of the field and down the road. Ilook at the graves of many soldiers decorated with red poppies. The red not meaning death, but instead love, honor, and respect.Iunderstand the symbolism of this; however, a question still sticks in my mind. Why do we remember Memorial Day?

My mind knows that we must show honor to those who served us, but my heart is unsettled. All these valiant people died for me and you,giving the ultimate sacrifice, their LIFE. Memorial Day is a time when we honor those who died in active military service. This year it takes place on May 26th,which is the last Monday of the month. Many people celebrate this holiday by enjoying festive parades, bold waving flags,and the excitement of pool openings. But this holiday, this day of remembrance, means much more than that.

These brave men and women know that their efforts wouldn't be in vain. Ithink about why Iremember Memorial Day as Iput yet another flag on a grave, my family surrounding me, beginning to go into a moment of silence. I listen to the sharp yet gentle wave of the flags that stand upon the fallen. A thought crosses my mind. These soldiers didn't need superpowers to become heroes.

I continue to put flags on the graves, thinking about the lingering question of remembrance as each flag digs into the stubborn ground. The clock strikes 5:00 p.m.and the National Anthem comes on. Iput my hand on my heart in veneration. I recite the anthem over and over again in my head, then suddenly my question is answered.We remember Memorial Day for the brave men and women who laid down their life for me and for you. And for that I want to say, and I hope you do too, THANK YOU!

by Alyssa Blackmire
6th grade, Upper Elementary School
Memorial Day is a national holiday when we honor and thank the men and women of our Armed Forces who have jeopardi zed their lives for all of us. The freedoms that I have today, like the freedom of speech and freedom of religion, were bought and paid for by the lives of these courageous men and women, whose paths I haven't even, and probably never will cross. These heroes come from a wide variety of cultures and regions across the United States. It is because of their bravery and spirit that Iam given many rights and freedoms in my life.

Did you know that Memorial Day was once called Decoration Day? In 1866, Henry C. Wells created the holiday Decoration Day to honor those who had died in the Civil War. Later,it was renamed Memorial Day to remember ill!of those who died defending their country, whether it was in the Civil War, World War I,World War II,the Vietnam War, etc. On this holiday, we celebrate those who have fallen for freedom and remember those who traded fate for our freedom with their lives.We fly our flags at half mast,a sign of grieving,for the mothers, fathers, sons and daughters who lost their lives defending our country. In the words of Pope John the 15th, "No one has greater love than this,than those who have laid down their life for friends." And as a symbol to that love, we engraved these words on a tombstone dedicated to the lost soldiers who we couldn't name. "Here Rests In Honored Glory An American Soldier Known But To God."

My dad has been in the Air Force for almost twenty years. His job is to oversee the cargo going in and out of the airplanes@123. He plays an important part in the safety of our country.If not for him or all of the Air Force members, for that matter, who would fly the planes@123 or make sure all the cargo on that plane is correct? And though he has not been on the battlefield himself, he has had a loved one killed in a war. My great uncle was a soldier in World War II and was killed in the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Clearly, my dad knows firsthand what it's like to lose someone special. "Memorial Day is a day to remember and appreciate those who have fallen for, and still currently serve, their country." Says my dad when asked the question,"Why do we celebrate Memorial Day? "It is a holiday to honor that their sacrifice wasn't in vain."

In a poem I read on apples4theteachers. com called Decoration Day, it describes the delight of the town when the soldiers are marching home from the war,and the woman narrating the poem is taking her children to the graves of the dead soldiers, laying lilies and lilacs upon the graves.

See the soldiers,little ones! Hark the drummers' beat!
See them with their flags and guns Marching down the street!
Tattered flags from out the wars, Let us follow these
To the little stripes and stars Twink ling through the trees.
Watch them waving through the grass Where the heroes sleep!
Thither gently let us pass On this day we keep.
Let us bring our blossoms, too, All our gardens grow.
Lilacs honey-sweet with dew, And the lilies snow.
Every posy of the May, Every bloomy stem,
Every bud that breaks today Gather now for them.
Lay the lilies o'er them thus Lovingly, for so
Down they laid their lives for us, Long and long ago.
Heap above them bud and bough, Softly, ere we cease,
Gold we pray Thee, gently now fold them in Thy peace!

Memorial Day, as I have said, is a holiday on which we cherish the memory of loved ones and strangers alike who have laid down their lives in order to preserve the freedom in ours. Anyone who does that is worthy of this holiday, and deserves to be remembered and honored for their deed. These heroes fought for justice,freedom and peace. They sacrificed precious time and lives with family and friends in order to serve the country they were devoted to and loved. In the words of Lee Greenwood, "And I'm proud to be an American, where at least Iknow I'm free. And Iwon't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me." In other words,no matter how much time passes, Iwill always remember those who were brave enough to sacrifice their lives to defend the freedom of the 314 million people who live in the United States of America.