In April, we were excited to receive Easter Baskets individually made and delivered for our Guests by members of Georgetown Presbyterian Church. This year, as usual, the baskets were beautiful and loved by all.
We cannot believe we are already weeks past Easter, and May is already upon us. The cherry blossoms have waned, the National Arboretum grounds are filled with blooming azaleas, and we are hurtling toward our next holiday—Memorial Day. While the exchange of Easter Baskets has been around for many hundreds of years—and the rabbit and egg combination since ancient times—Memorial Day has only been with us since 1866, a few years after the Civil War. Back then it was called Decoration Day, celebrated on May 5th, and was a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Now, of course, we’ve got picnics and a Monday federal holiday, but despite the festivities and the thrill of time off, the day is still meant for remembering soldiers lost in battle.
Arlington National Cemetery is just a little over 2 miles from the Home, and each year it’s an amazing sight when the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (the ceremonial “Old Guard”) honors America’s fallen heroes by placing American flags in front of graves. This has been a tradition since 1948. Soldiers place over 228,000 individual flags, one in front of each gravesite, and exactly one boot length from the headstone. Another 7,000 flags are placed in front of rows in the cemetery’s Columbarium Courts. Flags are also placed at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and on Chaplains’ Hill. Generally, it takes 1,000 soldiers about 4 hours (or as long as it takes) to place the flags and a little less time to remove them.
This year the public can view the flags between May 28th and May 31st.
In the midst of all the picnics and relaxation on Memorial Day, a special time of reflection is set aside called The National Moment of Remembrance. This is an annual event that asks Americans, wherever they are at 3:00 p.m. local-time on Memorial Day, to pause for the duration of one minute to remember those who have died in military service to the United States.
The Veterans Administration estimates in 2021 the number of female veterans at approximately 2 million. About 10 percent experience poverty that puts them at increased risk of homelessness, with the number of poor and homeless female veterans expected to rise in the years to come. Aiding these women, and all senior women of limited economic means by providing housing at no charge, continues to be the mission of The Aged Woman’s Home of Georgetown. It is with the support of Friends and Supporters of the Home that our mission can be accomplished.