Take time to remember on Memorial Day

THE CALENDAR IS SPRINKLED with days to remember this and that and a multitude of noteworthy individuals.

One of those days comes around next Monday when we mark Memorial Day.

For more than a century and a half, Americans have paused to remember, commemorate and honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and paid the ultimate price in service of their country.

It arose out of the frightful and bloody conflict that took place a century and a half ago, the American Civil War.

That was the costliest war in American history, in terms of total deaths and injuries.

It was following the war that the practice of decorating the graves of fallen soldiers on a specific date began, first in the defeated Confederate states then, beginning in 1868, throughout all the states of the reunited nation.

First known as Decoration Day – for the practice of decorating the graves of fallen soldiers – it eventually came to be known as Memorial Day, traditionally celebrated on May 30.

For more than four decades it has been celebrated on the last Monday in May, part of a federal effort to create several regular three-day holiday weekends throughout the year.

Many say that making Memorial Day the final day of a three-day weekend that has come to serve as the unofficial starting point for summer has diminished the traditional meaning of the holiday.

That may be the case, but it shouldn’t be.

Certainly, there is plenty to do and lots of places to go on a three-day holiday weekend.

But it only takes an hour or two out of a busy weekend schedule to attend a parade or a memorial ceremony – or both – during the three-day weekend, and less than that to fly a flag on the holiday.

A list of local celebrations, parades, picnics and ceremonies can be found on page 2 of today’s Review. It’s certain that there’s something going on within easy distance of where you live of which you can be a part.

It doesn’t seem like a huge sacrifice – and it certainly pales in comparison to the ultimate sacrifice that more than 1.3 million men and women have made in service to their country over the last 250 years.

Make sure they are not forgotten and that their sacrifice is remembered and honored.

At issue:
Memorial Day
Bottom line:
Pause, remember and honor

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