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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Time to think about Memorial Day

MAcciard said...

ARTICLE SUBMISSION PLEASE:

On this Memorial Day, when we have young men and women from our town standing in harm's way in Iraq and Afghanistan, and still more serving around the world, I would like to take a moment of reflection out of our beach and bar-b-que times to remember and honor those who have ensured that we have this time.

A military member is someone who at one time in their life wrote a check to the rest of us; men, women, children, democrat and republican alike, liberal and conservative, black and white, rich and poor, to stand up and do for us what we can not do for ourselves. They wrote a check that stated; "I will pay any amount up to and including my own life to protect and defend the rights and freedoms of the people of the United States of America."

Memorial day was originally May 30th and it was called decoration day. That was the day set aside to place wreaths, flowers, flags, and other decorations on the graves of our fallen heroes. Some 40 or so years ago, a compliant Congress at the behest of a strong labor union lobby moved it to the "Monday following the last weekend in May" to effect a long weekend that signaled the start of summer. In that move the meaning of Memorial day has been obscured.

I hope that we all take a moment out of our day, today, to stop and think of those men and women who are serving currently, and those who have made the ultimate gift to the rest of us.

To the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and most of all Marines, I want to take a moment to say, Thank you.

Mark R. Acciard

6 comments:

Carol Grant said...

Mark,

Well said! Thank you from all of us.

Anonymous said...

Mark: Thank you...and you're welcome. A vet.

Carol Grant said...

Honor ALL of Atkinson's Own.

As we do every year, my husband, son and I attended this morning's Memorial Day parade and ceremonies at the Common. I enjoyed the fact that Atkinsonians turn out in such numbers to honor those who have served our country in uniform.
Atkinson is a patriotic town.

There was only one aspect of the ceremony that left me so saddened and disappointed -- basically, the blowing off of those who are CURRENTLY , or RECENTLY SERVED in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Every year, special invitations are given to those veterans of OTHER past wars, including always a newspaper notice.

But forgotten EACH YEAR during the ceremony are Atkinson's own 18 men and women currently or previously serving in harm's way or in other capacities in the military. The 18 weren't even mentioned and their 18 families got no special invitation.

What was a real slap in the face to those 18 -- and to their families -- was that the names of those veterans of previous wars who marched in the parade ALL had their names read off during the ceremony. That's fine, they definitely and absolutely should be honored, even though most of them weren't Atkinson residents when they served. They all deserve to be honored for their previous service -- but what about those who are now serving, Atkinson's 18 ???

I have the great honor and privilege-- (and it truely is a privilege to honor the 18), to maintain the military service display board in Town Hall.

Parents and family members provide me with pictures and information about their family members serving, and I put it all up on the display board so that Atkinsonians using the Town Hall will be aware of the dedication, patriotism, and sacrifice of those Atkinsonians now serving.

Once it was decided to read off the names of veterans marching today, why couldn't a Memorial Day committee person have taken a few minutes to also copy the 18 names off of the display board so that they also could be honored by name. The 18 deserve that honor, and it would also have meant a lot to the 18 forgotten Atkinson families who worry and pray for the safe return of their loved ones.

If we're going to read off the names of veterans who marched in the parade, then also honor those currently in harm's way. They're Atkinson's own -- our treasure.

Also, with currently 18 families directly involved, why can't one of their names be randomly picked out of a hat and that family member to be allowed, on behalf of the 18 families, to say a few words during the ceremony -- even if just to thank all those who showed up.

It is nice to hear Atkinson Academy students read their compositions about Memorial Day.
Patriotism and love of country should always be inculcated in our young. But again, if kids can have that special privilege to speak at the Memorial Day ceremony, why can't a family member representing the 18 forgotten families, also be allowed to say a few words.

Except for the lack of mention of the 18 names and someone to speak to represent them and their families, it was otherwise, a great Memorial Day ceremony. A lot of preparation went into it and it was a job well done. Thank you to all of you who made it the success it was -- from the Committee, the marchers, parade participants, school bands, the Fire Dept. and the Timberlane Community Band

PS - I did mention the forgotten 18 servicemen and their families to Kathy Thompson between the parade and Common ceremony, and she did very graciously briefly mention that there were 18 families in town of servicemen. Sadly, though, there was no mention of the names of the 18 now wearing their country's uniform, with many of them directly in harm's way.

Curt Springer said...

Mark,
Nice tribute.

But I have to say, I think I am about a decade or so older than you. I was a teenager when we went to the Monday holidays in 1971. "Memorial Day Weekend" did not begin in that year. As long as I have been alive it has been the unofficial start of summer. It's just that it was like the 4th of July is now. As long as the holiday was not on a Wednesday, it was very clear which weekend was "Memorial Day Weekend", and if the holiday was on a Tuesday or Thursday people would take off Monday or Friday or call in sick.

Then as now it was up to the parents to emphasize the importance of the day to their children, as mine did.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mark, to both you and Julian.

dbjglatham said...

Carol Grant makes some good points and gives us something to think about for future Memorial Day observances. However, in the interest of accuracy I would like to point out that in addition to mentioning the 18 Atkinson families who have men and women currently serving overseas, Kathy Thomson also included her own son. During my remarks I made a point of remembering and honoring those who are currently placing themselves in harm's way, although, regretably I failed to acknowledge them or their families by name. I did ask all those who have family, friends or acquaintances currently serving to raise their hands and then asked the veterans to rise as a group, come to attention and render a HAND SALUTE in honor and support of those families and our "brothers and sisters currently in uniform for their active contributions."

I agree with Carol that Atkinson is a patriotic town and it was quite evident planning and in the numbers of veterans and attendees at this year's Memorial Day observance. It was also evident in the respect, silence and focus of all there. Thank you all!

Don Latham