Two Holidays

What I really enjoy the most about this particular issue of the award-winning Community News is this: I get to utilize the same column, year after year. However, I did go through it, added some commas, changed a few words and edited, just a touch. I give you my annual piece about Memorial Day. Enjoy, and thank you for reading Lisa's Rants and Raves, even if it is a rerun. (If your memories are anything like mine, as of late, you won't remember it anyway.)

Two Holidays

For those of you who read this column on a regular basis and might be expecting some of my crazed antics, or goof ball observations of a lighter nature, I must warn you that this week, I am attempting to present you with a more solemn column—and I made a rhyme right off the bat.

Don't worry, as this will not become a habit, but I really feel this is something I would like to share, and perhaps some of you might take pause, or think I'm nuts, or a little bit of both.

My question is, has Memorial Day become a Veterans Day in May? The reason why I ask, is it seems many folks just assume it is a time to thank a veteran or to recognize those who have served, who are serving and are alive, well and living on the face of this earth. (Do not get me wrong, as everyone should thank a veteran, on any given day of the week. The act of doing so does not require any special holiday.)

Other folks are under the impression that it might be a time to place some plastic flowers on Aunt Millie's grave. Again, there is nothing illegal about remembering dear Aunt Millie, from Tidioute, but that isn't the true meaning of Memorial Day.

I attended a service, several years ago, in Memorial Park, right in the center of Conneaut Lake. Senator Bob Robbins was the guest speaker and imparted a most eloquent, and moving, speech about this very thing. He did not mention Aunt Millie by name, but indicated that, through the years, the true meaning of the holiday has been watered down. I have to say that I do agree with him, wholeheartedly.

I looked up some information about both of the days and found that Memorial Day began as a time to remember those who fought and DIED in the Civil War. Some say that it started as a memorial to the fallen Union soldiers. However, there is also evidence that organized ladies' groups, in the South, were decorating graves before the end of the War Between the States.

Many stories are in circulation as to its actual origins and about two dozen towns and cities claim to be the birthplace of the holiday. I also found that it used to be called Decoration Day, since the graves of the fallen soldiers were decorated by organizations, family members and others.

I actually remember, as a youth, my mother and some of her friends referring to Decoration Day but, we don't hear that too much anymore.

After WWI, it became a day to acknowledge the fallen from all wars. Those who actually died in action or, from the result of being wounded, in any war, were honored, or remembered, on this day.

For many folks Memorial Day is a time to crack open a beer, or seven, fire up the barbecue pit and maybe hit some of the sales at the local stores. There isn't anything terribly wrong with doing any of the above, unless one is planning to drive to the sales after consuming seven beers, but I think sometimes we all forget why this holiday exists at all.

I shall copy and paste something that I found on the net on a site called Chosen Fast. I don't know much about the website other than I discovered the following content, and it seemed to say this better than I, so here you go:

'Many people confuse Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. While those who died are also remembered on Veterans Day, Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL those who served honorably in the military - in wartime or peacetime. In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served - not only those who died - have sacrificed and done their duty.'

In closing, I would ask my readers to take the time to reflect on that. I urge you to attend a service, really listen to the speaker and absorb the true meaning of the holiday.

After that, have all the fun in the world but remember, drinking the above mentioned seven beers is best done in the presence of a designated driver or in the comfort of one's own lawn chair—I'm just saying.

Remember, people really did die for our freedoms, whilst defending the Constitution, of the United States. Because of this, it's possible to write or read an opinion column in a newspaper, for instance.

Some might be cursing that pesky First Amendment, due to some of the content in Rants and Raves. Nonetheless, we should be grateful for our freedoms and should remember, on Memorial Day, those who died for such. THE END.