By: John W. Feary, City Manager
On Saturday, a group of volunteers will meet to place flags on the graves of veterans who have been laid to rest at the Woodlawn Cemetery. Those flags stand as a reminder of Memorial Day and the true meaning behind the holiday.
Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, began during the Civil War when individuals placed flowers on the graves of those killed in battle. After World War I, Decoration Day was changed to Memorial Day and was observed to honor those who have died in all wars involving the United States.
But for many, Memorial Day simply marks the beginning of summer – the day public pools open and when many of us head to the lake for a long weekend. Don’t get me wrong, I fully support summer recreation and a chance to enjoy the great outdoors, but I ask that each of you take a moment to reflect on the true meaning of this holiday weekend. Remember the fallen soldiers.
The United States lost more than 53,000 men to combat in World War I, and more than 400,000 of our Greatest Generation perished in World War II. We know that 54,246 American service members gave their lives in Korea and 58,209 were lost in Vietnam. In Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. lost nearly 7000 soldiers. Each one of these men and women had a family, a family that feels their loss every day – not just on Memorial Day.
These fallen soldiers answered the call when our nation needed them the very most, and they paid the ultimate price to protect you, me and the freedoms that make this country great. So, on this Memorial Day, think about the courageous and selfless men and women that gave all so we could enjoy our day at the lake.
Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend and stay safe!