Ask a hundred people in St. Louis what Memorial Day means to them and your answers will generally range from “going to the lake,” “opening up the pool” and “firing up the grill” to “the Indy 500,” “the Gypsy Caravan” and “the Greek Festival.”
Among that hundred, a few might say, “it’s a time to remember those who have given their lives for our country.” Let’s do our best this year to make sure that we all take time to honor those who died while serving America.
We should think of those who lost their lives on battlefields or at sea. We need to remember our citizens whose lives ended in Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, Korea, France, Germany, Italy, Pearl Harbor, the South Pacific and every other scene of American military bloodshed. Those who died are real people who sacrificed their lives so that we may enjoy the freedoms and pleasures of our lives. We owe them our eternal gratitude and respect.
How should we commemorate Memorial Day? If you have an American flag, fly it. Fly it at half-staff until noon, then raise it to full-staff until sunset.
If you live near a military cemetery, take a walk or a drive through the grounds. For St. Louis area residents, a drive through the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery can be a truly moving experience. The Cemetery will hold a special Memorial Day ceremony on Monday, May 28, at 12:30 p.m.
Attend a Memorial Day event in your town or neighborhood. Alton, Illinois will host a large Memorial Day parade on Monday, May 28, at 10:00 a.m. Many communities and organizations such as VFW’s will hold special events. You can find event listings in your local newspaper or online.
If you know a family that has lost a loved one in the line of battle, tell them that you are thinking of their son/daughter, husband/wife or father/mother who gave all. If there is a special fund for military widows in your community, make a donation.
This year, don’t let Memorial Day pass without giving honor to those for whom the day was created. Be sure to share your Memorial Day thoughts and experiences with your children or grandchildren. Enjoy the company of friends and family, play in the water, grill brats and pork steaks, but take time to remember those who made our modern American lifestyle possible.
We at Hope Hospice encourage you to make Memorial Day really matter in 2012.