Letters: Reader expounds upon meaning of Memorial Day

To the editor:
In May, as we welcome the coming of summer, we also will be celebrating Memorial Day.
Memorial Day is always special and meaningful, but this year it is especially poignant, as this year we also celebrate the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, and the start of Memorial Day as a day to honor our fallen soldiers. The Civil War (is any war really civil?) resulted in the largest number of casualties, by far, of any of the wars we have been involved in. The tradition of honoring the fallen, and decorating their graves started then, with local townspeople walking to the cemetery in groups, which became the start of our formal and traditional parades. They decorated the graves with flowers and flags.
Over the years the name, and actual day of celebration has changed, but in 1971 then President Nixon declared the last Monday in May as Memorial Day.
While it has become a day of picnics, trips to the beaches and lakes, we should not forget the real meaning, the real purpose of Memorial Day. Let us remember, let us take the time to honor all the fallen servicemen and women. A few moments, even a few hours is not too much for us to say “Thank You,” and show our appreciation for those who were there for us, and gave up more than just a few minutes, a few hours.
I ask that on the holiday that we all, wherever possible, display our flag. In our windows, at the cemeteries, on the flagpoles. Display it on Memorial Day, but also on the days leading up to Memorial Day so as to remind others of Memorial Day and its meaning. Display our flag, but please do it properly. With the appropriate and deserved respect
At 3 p.m., it has become traditional to have a minute of silence in honor of and in memory of those who have fallen. By observing that, even if we don’t go to the cemetery or a formal recognition event, we can show that we do remember, and do appreciate what they have done for us. As a simple reminder, on this day, and at all situations where our flag is displayed, where the National Anthem or “God Bless America” is played let us show proper respect.
We seem to have become blasé about the proper observance. Let us grownups do the right thing. And maybe take the time to show, and set a good example for our young people as to the proper manner of respect.
Then we can have our picnics and enjoy being with our families and friends
William T. Stortz
Bristol

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