When was the last time a really large crowd showed up at Morenci’s Oak Grove Cemetery on Memorial Day morning? It probably happens about as often as a member of the marching band faints from the heat, and it’s been a long time since that occurred.
Lots of people line the streets to watch the flags and fire trucks, the band, the Boy Scouts and the decorated bicycles go by. But that’s not what Memorial Day is about, and few of the watchers make the trek to the cemetery where the solemn service takes place.
Is Memorial Day only for veterans? Of course not. They’re honoring fallen comrades, but that doesn’t shut out those who didn’t serve. It’s not a salute to war; it’s the commemoration of those who died in service to their country.
Many of those who scratch their heads over the poor showing at the Memorial Day service point back to Congressional action taken in 1971. It was then that Memorial Day lost its May 30 designation and instead became part of a three-day weekend.
For many people, a walk or drive to the cemetery has become an inconvenience to weekend plans. Think about the flags on tombstones in cemeteries across the nation and realize that thousands of them died while in military service.
That’s why we need to pause for remembrance on Memorial Day.
– David Green, May 24, 2006