Honoring our fallen soldiers

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 28, 2007

Each year on Memorial Day, folks gather around the grill, head out to the river or picnic on potato salad and barbecue.

All of these things make for a great holiday celebration, but they are not the reason we set aside this day.

Today at 11 a.m., the Veterans of Foreign Wars will host a ceremony at Memorial Stadium. The purpose is to honor those service men and women who have died in our nation’s service fighting for a just cause.

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Memorial Day was first officially recognized in May 1868 – just after the Civil War – when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers in Arlington National Cemetery.

That action was actually a follow-up of Confederate Memorial Day, which had been observed by women in communities across the South for a couple of years prior.

The Civil War was a long time ago, but we are currently engaged in another war.

There may be none among us who remember World War I or wars prior to that. But there are those who were impacted by the deaths of loved ones in World War II, in which approximately 400,000 Americans lost their lives; the Korean War, in which about 53,000 died; Vietnam, where approximately 89,000 died; the Gulf War, reportedly about 1,900 deaths; and now the War on Terrorism, with more than 3,000 deaths so far. (Statistics obtained

from the Veterans Administration)

The men and women who gave their lives for our country deserve a moment of your time today. Take a few minutes to remember them, honor them and say thanks.