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Memorial Day (It is not just a day off)

by Col. Dale Kissinger, retired

I remember Memorial Day as a child as the beginning of summer!  A time to celebrate the last class (small country schools got out earlier in the 1950-70s) and the freedom of summer! We usually did a family picnic but had little fanfare besides possibly sharing a new found snake with my sister.  Then our school marching band started marching in the local parade.  I remember standing at ease at the end of the parade as the town leaders spoke about sacrifice and freedom (I felt like the speeches were a tad too long as we were in the sun and losing a few friends with locked knees to the heat--J).

But why were they there in the park next to the cemetery listening to the speakers?  Memorial Day started out as Decoration Day in 1868!  The communities went to the cemeteries of veterans in locations around the country and decorated their gravesites with flags and flowers.  At Arlington National Cemetery over 5,000 Americans decorated the graves of 20,000 soldiers at the first Decoration Day there!

But I digress into history too much as we are currently at war - not some long ago event but today!  Impacting the lives of the larger military community and their friends and loved ones!  Our nation's cemeteries have new graves to decorate with flags and flowers!  Let us take the time to remember and pray for these families who have had lives changed and plans forever altered.  If you know one, hug them and support them, take in a parade, visit a cemetery and put out flags and flowers.

USMC SaluteRemember they sacrificed for our freedoms - yes, even our children and grandchildren's summertime freedom to enjoy the outdoors, the rocks and toads and wild flowers and maybe even a family picnic and sharing a snake with a loving sister.


 Remember it is not just another day off!

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