By Marsha M. Brown
The first official ‘Memorial Day’ or ‘Decoration Day’ held in May 1868 recognized those who died while serving in our armed forces. It is a day to appreciate and never to be taken lightly.
If you asked some people what ‘Memorial Day’ meant to them…they might say, “It’s a federal holiday, most banks are closed and I’m off from work…with pay!” Then, some might say, “Well…it’s about our veterans but it’s also about sales…lots and lots of SALES!” Or maybe you would hear, “It’s the time of year that earmarks the beginning of summer!” And…if you have watched T.V. lately, what have you seen? Countless commercials promoting furniture, cars, appliances, garden tools…advertisements, promotions and sometimes even seemingly crazy ‘gimmicks’ to draw folks in to buy…but I wonder what all of those who lie beneath the crosses ‘In Flander’s Fields’ would say about it. I wonder if they’d say…”Does anybody remember us?” “Have you all forgotten?” “Does our loss of life while serving our country mean anything to anybody?” “Does anybody think about what we have given?”
If you don’t mind my asking (not that I’ll ever know your answer), how would you respond if you were sitting in a restaurant and a stranger from a foreign country unfamiliar to our customs asked you what ‘Memorial Day’ meant to you? Would you say, “It’s a special day set aside each year to honor and remember our fallen heroes? Or would you say, “On Memorial Day we commemorate the courage and honor of the brave men and women who died serving our country while on ships, tanks, in airplanes or as ground troops because they were killed protecting the freedoms we hold dear? Would you think…just for a minute…that this very special day summons the memories of mothers and fathers who dropped to their knees when they first heard their son or daughter was lost to war? Can you picture just for a second the wives and husbands…children and siblings overwhelmed with grief at the loss of their loved having fought to protect us all from oppression and tyranny? Do all the U. S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines & Coast Guard veterans who died battling torpedoes, cannons, bayonets and machine guns while defending their survival and their brothers too come to mind?…Does envisioning their calls for help in the darkness make you stop and think? Do those accounts…those testimonies…resonate at all? Does the essence of ‘Memorial Day’ now come closer into focus?
‘Memorial Day’ is a time for recollection, memories and closeness of loved ones. It is a day of meaningful sadness…in memoriam but in celebration too of those brave men and women who loved our country enough to step out, experience hardship, loneliness, extreme weather, personal discomfort, suffering and even death to defend us equate to ‘sacrifice’?.
This weekend will be a blessing for all the veterans who survived war…no matter where it was or when it was, it will be a time of silent reflection for them with respect to those who didn’t make it back; who didn’t return home or recover from injuries sustained as a result of their battles defending us.
There will be ‘Memorial Day’ services and ceremonies across Dare County this coming Monday, May 25, 2015. Please note the following and if possible take the time to attend at least one of them and bring your loved ones with you too:
9:00 A.M. – Southern Shores Cemetery on Dogwood Trail
9:30 A.M. – Hatteras Island Veteran’s Memorial Park Prayer Service (beside
Hatterasman Drive In), Hatteras Village, followed by
10:00 A.M. – Hatteras Village Memorial Day Service, United Methodist Church
10:00 A.M. – Austin Cemetery – Kitty Hawk Rd., Kitty Hawk
11:00 A.M. – Manteo Cemetery, Manteo
11:00 A.M. – Nags Head Town Hall, Nags Head
11:45 A.M. – Downtown Manteo (Old Dare County Courthouse)
12:45 P.M. – Veteran’s Dr., Kill Devil Hills
As Americans, its time we take back our pride and nurture it to its fullest potential. ‘Memorial Day’ is in honor of those who have gone before us…but there are still a lot of veterans here with us everyday in body, mind and spirit that we should show our love to and support for.
Look for the little tables and stands at local businesses where you are welcomed to make a donation and obtain a little red, artificial poppy flower as a ‘thank you’. Please help our veterans and in turn, you will bless the hearts of men and women who are veterans (or their spouses) sitting there manning the ‘booths’. Please help everybody…and look for the gentlemen and ladies. Stop your car, get out and make a donation that is comfortable for you.
Display your American flags at home and anywhere else you can (how about at your work place?); wear your patriotic T-shirts, hats and vests; thank the local businesses that discount goods and services for you through the Dare County Veteran I. D. Card; support businesses owned by vets and just know in the meantime that you (we) are in the hands of competent, proud and loyal American soldiers, sailors and airmen who love this country beyond words.
Until next time, be happy, be safe and be proud…our flag is the most beautiful one of all! She stands for courage, determination, strength and valor; she stands for glory and pride and goodness. She stands tall over the oppressors that threaten us and she will never retreat or succumb to evil. God bless America forever!
If you know a veteran who needs a friend or help in any way, please call me (252) 202-2058 or write to me through firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay tuned.