Memorial Day is a chance to say thank you

Published 10:31 pm Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Dear editor,

On the last Monday in May, May 30, Memorial Day will be observed throughout the United States. Not to be confused with Veterans Day, which is traditionally set aside to thank all veterans, this is a day of remembrance for those service men and women that have died in our nations service. It is a solemn day.

On Monday, The Veterans of Foreign Wars will host a local ceremony at Memorial Stadium at 11 a.m. Commander Rayburn Hill, Commander of VFW Post 3016 will be the Master of Ceremonies. The Post 3016 Officers and its Auxiliary will place flowers at the memorial of our fallen comrades. There will be other veterans and civic organizations present to place flowers on the memorial as well. Arrangements have been made for several sets of bleachers to be available as well as the doors to the stadium to be open in case of rain.

Guest speaker, Lt. Colonel Steve Ruiz, USAF (retired), will speak of the great sacrifices that the American soldiers and sailors have endured so that you and I can enjoy the freedoms that we so dearly love. The freedom and right to gather to thank them should be high on everyone’s list. If you have never heard Col. Ruiz speak, you will appreciate his straight forward honesty and loyalty to the American soldier as well as to you and me. If you have heard him before, perhaps at Southside High School, I feel sure you will come back for another dose of Americanism from the heart. This is for all Americans, and all veterans, no matter their race, sex, color, or creed and recognizes their sacrifice of their life to insure America’s freedoms.

Most Americans have forgotten the true meaning of Memorial Day. If you cannot attend, at least, around 11 a.m., take a short pause in whatever you may be doing and lower your head for a brief moment of silent prayer and thanks to these passed heroes. You owe all your freedoms to them.  Or, perhaps listen to TAPS and thank them for their sacrifices so that you may enjoy all the freedoms that they have died to give you.

In 1915, the idea was conceived to wear a red poppy on Memorial Day in honor of those who died while serving this great nation. In 1922, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States became the first veterans organization to nationally “give for donations” “Buddy Poppies.” Made by the disabled veterans in the veterans hospitals, all monies raised from donations for the poppies goes to help servicemen and their families in need and at the veterans hospitals. Post 3016 Auxiliary members will be present with Poppies.

As you know, we are losing our World War II, Korean and now even Vietnam veterans at an astounding rate of over 1200 per day. Come out and thank the few remaining survivors that will be among our ranks and show your support for the gallant men and women that are yet today in harm’s way in Iraq, Afghanistan and other theaters around the world. They are hard at work so that today, you may be at play. Where it used to be only men serving, now they may be someone’s father, mother, son, daughter, sister, brother, husband, wife or even just a friend. On Saturday, May 28 at 9 a.m., Post 3016 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and friends will be placing flags on the graves at Pineview Cemetery. Check us out or better yet, come help. See you at the stadium at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 30 and I tell you again, freedom is not free.

Rod Stone

VFW Post 3016