On Memorial Day, remember its purpose

May 24, 2014

Memorial Day, which is Monday, is a day of remembrance for those who died in our nation’s service.

Originally called Decoration Day, it is not a day to honor veterans or to celebrate independence and national pride – that’s what Veterans Day and Independence Day are for.

It is not a day for politics, although some politicians will surely avail themselves of the opportunity to trumpet their patriotism.

Memorial Day should be a day for quiet reflection on the sacrifices made for us by the hundreds of thousands killed in war.

But often, its purpose is forgotten, like so many of the souls we are bound to honor.

When Congress acted to make Memorial Day the last Monday in May instead of May 30, in order to create a three-day holiday weekend, much of the solemn significance of the observance was lost.

A bill to restore May 30 as the day to remember our war dead never seems to get out of committee and probably never will.

We can enjoy all the picnics and activities planned this holiday weekend, but we should also take a moment to quietly remember those who died to make it all possible.

For a truly stirring experience, take a drive through Washington Cemetery, where students last week placed American flags on the graves of veterans.

So many flags, so much to remember and appreciate.



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