To many Americans, Memorial Day has lost its meaning

Almost 150 years later, though the name has changed, the message of remembrance and honor has stayed the same.

What is now celebrated as Memorial Day was not officially recognized nationwide until that act of Congress in 1971.

Nathan volunteered with his father earlier this week to help place American flags on 500 acres of land ahead of Saturday morning's annual Memorial Day service at the Jacksonville National Cemetery. That's it, pure and simple. State legislatures passed proclamations designating the day, and the Army and Navy adopted regulations for proper observance at their facilities. "Words can't express the appreciation you have for people who are willing to go through and do what our men and women are having to deal with". Different states have observed Memorial Day on different days for more than a century.

Jim Segletes, 65, a Vietnam-era Marine visiting the grave of his father-in-law, a World War II veteran who died in 2000, said he thinks Americans became more patriotic and aware of military sacrifice after 9/11.

The Grand Ledge Memorial Day parade will step off at 11 a.m.in downtown Grand Ledge. Prior to that, it was known as Decoration Day and it started in the years following the Civil War. Originally the holiday was called Decoration Day and it began after the Civil War to honor the thousands of dead Union and Confederate soldiers.




Today marks the third day of a long holiday weekend that usually kicks off the summer vacation season here in the mountains of southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia. Dozens of small American flags will dot the gravestones of the fallen military, that part of the program arranged by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. It is a touching sight and a sobering tribute, indeed. There will be a special ceremony at the park to honor those who died while serving.

Pleasure, comfort and convenience have replaced honor, reverence and remembrance. Families get together, some may throw parties or barbecues or have picnics. We give thanks to those who gave more of themselves than anyone can possibly imagine so that our nation's freedoms are preserved for generations.

"Our nation owes a debt to its fallen heroes that we can never fully repay, but we can honor their sacrifice" - President Barack Obama.

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