Born out of the Civil War, Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service to the United States of America.
Many in America confuse Memorial Day with Veterans Day or think of it as a 3 day holiday weekend. It is not a time to say “Happy Memorial Day”, rather it is a time of solemn remembrance of those who died in service to the country.
The City of Radford hosts a Memorial Day Service each year, and I am proud to serve on the organizing committee. The program includes short speeches from local dignitaries, music from the High School band and choir, and participation by members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, and the Vietnam Veterans. Hundreds of people attend the service each year, and this year was our 19th annual service.
I wasn’t able to take many photos but thankfully we had great print and TV media coverage. The program ends with a 21 gun salute, a bagpiper plays Amazing Grace, and a trumpeter plays Taps. For a small town program run entirely by volunteers, it really is quite powerful.
Please follow this link to read a bit about this year’s program. Mike Gangloff describes the day much better than I. He quotes one of our speakers as saying that Memorial Day isn’t “about sales and cookouts and the opening of swimming pools, but the sacrifice of soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen. They gave us all their tomorrows so we could enjoy ours.”
I feel so honored to work with these veterans each year, and even convinced them to take a group “selfie” with me.