Goshen News, Goshen, IN

May 25, 2014

OUR VIEW: Remember the reason for Memorial Day

Goshen News

---- — Enjoying yourself? We hope so. We may just kick back a bit ourselves.

Long weekends such as this one lend themselves to relaxation and recreation. A three-day respite from work — for many of us, at least — is a fine time to socialize, fire up the grill or perhaps simply enjoy the springtime.

This newspaper will now take the bold editorial stance of telling its readers to have some fun. However, let’s not forget the reason for our extra bit of leisure.

MONDAY IS MEMORIAL DAY, a time for Americans to honor the men and women who lost their lives while serving in the U.S. armed forces. Nationwide there will be parades, somber speeches, the playing of “Taps,” and other tributes in keeping with tradition. The scenes will be no less significant for being familiar.

Memorial Day has its origin in the years following the Civil War, with communities gathered to honor those killed in that wrenching conflict. For years the observance was known as Decoration Day.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the tribute broadened after World War I to honor service personnel who died in all American wars. An act of Congress in 1971 made Memorial Day an official national holiday, one that would take place on the last Monday in May.

That’s tomorrow, bear in mind. In the years to come, never forget.

MEMORIAL DAY got its start in the aftermath of the Civil War. And while the manner in which war is waged has changed since that conflict, one aspect of warfare remains the same: its terrible cost.

The price was paid by people who found themselves in harm’s way, either by signing up for military duty or being drafted for the same. Their loved ones back home hoped for a safe return, and those hopes went unrealized. The warriors wanted to live through the fight, and didn’t.

Their stories are part of a national narrative of sacrifice and loss. Those who were lost deserve no less than a nation’s tribute, on Memorial Day or any other.