Today is Memorial Day. It's also the day we name our top 15 finalists in the BEEF Daily Ranch Sweetheart Photo Contest. Vote for your favorite today.
I hope you are all having a great Memorial Day and that you were able to spend the long weekend with friends and family. But, let’s not forget the primary reason for this day. Today, we salute the men and women who have served this country to protect our freedoms.
Memorial Day is a federal holiday that is celebrated the last Monday of May. It was initiated as Decoration Day, a day when the fallen of both the Union and Confederacy in the Civil War were honored.
www.usmemorialday.org reports that Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868, by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, and was first observed on May 30 of that year, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.
"The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890, it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war."
One of the most touching of remembrances to our fallen heroes is "Flanders Field," written by John McCrae in 1915.
In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Named a three-day federal holiday in 1971, Memorial Day is now considered the kickoff to the summer vacation season. In that spirit, I want to announce the 15 finalists in the BEEF Daily Ranch Sweethearts Photo Contest.
Congratulations to our 15 finalists:
“Grandma Dvonne” by Emily Hansen
“The Proposal” by Leann Botkin
“Strength Is Beauty” by Marty Stingley
“Don and Jessie” by Sarah Anderson
“Rose And Her Herd Bull” by Rita McPhee
“Grace” by Melinda Baker
“Ella and Emri” by Kyle Mayden
“Kameryn’s Heifers” by Brian Stoltze
“Hugs” by Kaye Hansen
“Addyson” by Alyssa Williams
“Hudson” by Leslie Hamilton
“Pup” by Calli Pritchard
“Quincie” by Hayes Martens
“Quentin” by Shelby Shaw
“Morning Sort” by Rachel and Nikki Darnall
We need help selecting our two champions, so click here to vote. Voting will be open until May 31, and our winners will be announced on June 3. The champion photographer will win a certificate redeemable for a pair of Roper boots, and the reserve champion photographer will win a $75 gift certificate to Cowgirl Crush. To thank you for your help in selecting our winners, three voters will also receive a copy of my children’s book, “Levi’s Lost Calf.”
Which photo is your favorite? Leave me a note in the comments section below or vote in the gallery. Thanks for your participation. You can view the complete gallery or reader-submitted photographs here.