Remember the fallen

Weather reports indicate Monday may be a cool and breezy day, but mostly sunny. Not a bad day to kick off summer.

Regardless of the weather, the national holiday being observed Monday should be a reminder of things other than backyard barbecues, JUCO baseball games and outdoor adventure. It is the day we remember all those who have fallen in the service of our country.

Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day began as a day to honor those killed in the Civil War by placing flowers on their graves. It is not clear whether the practice began in the North or the South, since communities in both regions lay claim to its origination.

But it is known that by 1868 — just three years after the war ended — the leader of what was then the main veterans group declared May 30 as Memorial Day and flowers were placed on the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers.

After World War I, Memorial Day became a time to honor all of those killed serving our country, not just those from the Civil War.

In 1971, Congress bumped the official date of the holiday from May 30 to the last Monday in May, but this is one of those years when they are the same.

So take time from whatever your plans are Monday to consider all those who died serving this country over the centuries. Remember also the veterans who survived their service but may be facing tough times. And take particular notice of those still serving in dangerous places such as Iraq and Afghanistan, or fulfilling their duties in this country.

It is the combined sacrifices of all those military personnel that allow us the luxury to celebrate this long weekend in whatever fashion we choose.


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