Memorial Day 2020
Memorial Day, the time for our nation to pay tribute to the members of our armed services who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.
In normal times, the federal three-day holiday weekend sees traditional observances in large cities and small towns alike with parades, bands and flags. Memorial Day also marks the unofficial beginning of summer and has become a time for sporting events, sales, picnics and barbeques with friends and family.
Of course, these are not normal times. The parades, bands and public memorials have all been cancelled. Sporting events, picnics and barbeques have also been cancelled or dramatically altered due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. However, no matter the change or the restrictions, it can never diminish our respect for the men and women who gave their lives for our country.
Growing up in a small town with parents who both served in the U.S. military, traditional Memorial Day observances are near and dear to my heart. Every year there was a parade, speeches and music in the park bandstand. At our local cemetery, like most others around the country, small American flags were planted in front of each veteran’s headstone. We were there every year to see the flags, read the names and remember.
If you have never visited any of our 134 national cemeteries or a state veteran’s cemetery, I encourage you to do so when you can. It is easy to not realize just how many of our men and women, our bothers and sisters, our fathers and mothers, our sons and daughters, have given their lives so we can live free. When you see the rows of headstones and flags, it begins to sink in what the cost of freedom really is.
In 2000, Congress passed the National Moment of Remembrance Act. It encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation. Especially in this time of travel and gathering restrictions, I ask you to please consider this in your plans for Memorial Day.
For all of us who live free for your service, we celebrate your memory, we honor your sacrifice and we shall never forget.
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