Saddened by lost meaning of Memorial Day

Published 9:52 am Saturday, May 29, 2010

To the Editor:

I have been to many Memorial Day services and parades and am starting to wonder where everyone has gone.

Memorial Day is this Monday, and I, like many others, have plans to enjoy this weekend with my friends and family, but I am taking time, on Monday, with my children to reflect and remember those who have gone before us, paying the ultimate sacrifice for freedom: their lives.

It heavies my heart when I see the average attendance lower and the age rise for the mourners at these services or flags at public buildings not being displayed in the proper etiquette for Memorial Day.

Why have so many of us stopped doing any of the following:

■ Visiting cemeteries and placing flags or flowers on the graves of our fallen heroes

■ Visiting memorials or services

■ Flying the U.S. flag at half-staff until noon

■ Flying the POW/MIA Flag as well (Section 1082 of the 1998 Defense Authorization Act)

■ Participating in a National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. to pause and think upon the true meaning of the day

■ Renewing a pledge to aid the widows, widowers and orphans of our fallen dead — and to aid the disabled veterans

I became aware of the importance of Memorial Day when I first witnessed my father cry during a prayer prior to a Memorial Day parade. I was very young and always enjoyed these parades, but this was the first time I ever saw my father cry.

My father was in the Navy and had many friends who died during the Vietnam conflict. Talking to many people in this area, I know that they have friends and family who were touched by the wars, so take that torch and reflect and teach your children the true meaning of this day.

Put the “Memorial” back in Memorial Day.

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

— John McCrae, 1915

Scott Seddon