Memorial Day has never just been about remembering the dead. In issuing the first Memorial Day order on May 5, 1868, Civil War General John Logan called on the nation to decorate the graves of soldiers and sailors who died in defense of their country -- but also to remember their surviving families:
"Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation's gratitude, the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan."
Across the country, Americans have united to help the spouses and children of those who sacrificed their limbs and lives for the ongoing war on terror. Here are just three worthy causes to keep in mind after this weekend's parades and holiday barbeques are over:
1. The Freedom Alliance and Hannity Scholarship Fund. Nationally syndicated radio talk show host and FOX News Channel host Sean Hannity has created a scholarship fund for children of military men and women killed or wounded during the call of duty. He'll host a live Freedom Concert on July 11 at the Six Flags Great Adventure theme park in Jackson, N.J. Proceeds will go to Retired Lt. Col. Oliver North's Freedom Alliance, which provides scholarships and charitable programs to members of the Armed Forces and dependents of those who have been killed on duty. The group has donated tens of thousands of dollars to parents, children and spouses of veterans, including those who served in Vietnam and Lebanon; delivered overseas care packages during Gulf War I; and donated memorial funds for families of sailors killed during the 2000 terrorist attack on the destroyer USS Cole in Yemen.
Contributions to the Hannity Scholarship Fund and/or Freedom Alliance can be sent to Freedom Alliance, 22570 Markey Court, Suite 240, Dulles, VA 20166; online at www.freedomalliance.org ; or by calling 1-800-329-5454. For more information on obtaining tickets to the July 11 Freedom Concert, call 1-732-928-1821.