Memorial Day opportunity to honor those who gave all

Friday, May 26, 2017

“Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers,” reads the entry on Memorial Day from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website.

“Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country,” it continues.

It wasn’t until the National Holiday Act of 1971 was passed by Congress that it became an official holiday.

The source of the following was lost somewhere in cyberspace, but we thought the veteran who wrote the following observations on Memorial Day made some important points:

“1. While I appreciate the thoughts, please don't wish veterans a Happy Memorial day - there is nothing happy about brave men and women making the ultimate sacrifice.

“2. It's not a holiday; it's a remembrance/memorial.

“3. Please don't thank me for my service. While your support is appreciated, earlier this month (Armed Forces Day) was for thanking those currently serving, Veterans Day is for thanking all who have served, but Memorial Day is about remembering, and honoring those who gave their LAST full measure in service to our great nation.

“4. If you want to know the true meaning visit Arlington or your local Veterans Cemetery or a small town Memorial Day Service, not Disneyland.

“5. Please don't tell me how great anyone in political power is. Tell me about Chesty Puller, George Patton, John Basilone, Kyle Carpenter, Mitchell Paige, Ira Hayes, and Chris Kyle

“6. Please don't tell me I don't know what I'm talking about. Have you raised your right hand in service to your country and written that blank check? I have. Those we honor on Memorial Day cashed it.

“7. Say a prayer, and then another, for all our gold star families, and the loved ones they lost.”

If you’d like to do something practical, as well as get some fresh air, exercise and time to reflect, you have a chance Saturday. the McCook Legion and VFW posts are accepting volunteers to place flags on veterans’ graves Saturday morning and retrieving them Monday afternoon.

If that’s something you’d like to do, meet at the maintenance shop in the northeast corner of Memorial Park Cemetery at 8:45 a.m. Saturday for flags and instructions. Then, come back at 3:45 p.m. Monday to pick the flags up.

If you don’t live in McCook, check with your local veterans’ organization, and you’ll probably find similar opportunities.

Sgt. Maj. Dean Reicks, a former McCook coach before joining the military full time, will be the featured speaker at McCook’s Memorial Day observance, 10:30 a.m. Monday.

At a minimum, please attend your local Memorial Day observance and pay your respects to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.

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