Our View: A time to remember
We tend to celebrate something on most holidays.
New Year’s Day brings revelry the night before. July Fourth has us in backyards, standing by the barbecue and watching the fireworks. Thanksgiving and the winter holidays — Christmas and Hanukkah — bring us near friends and family, celebrating and thankful for what we have.
And then there’s Memorial Day, a different kind of holiday.
It’s not that the day is bereft of any celebration. People will always gather during a three-day weekend, taking advantage of an extra day off and, when it’s in late May, the beautiful weather.
But this holiday is more than merely the unofficial start of summer. It’s a solemn remembrance of those who have died in service of our country. It’s a day when many people will visit cemeteries, place a flag at the headstone and stand, silently, just for a moment, to remember.
Taking that moment to remember is the least we can do for those who did so much for us.
The annual ceremony at Memorial Park in Grass Valley will happen this Monday. People will once again gather and listen to speakers. They’ll think about the price paid for their ability to go to that park, on that day, and honor those who served.
The ceremony begins at 11 a.m. at the park, 350 Race St., and will feature retired Gen. Orlo Steele and county Supervisor Dan Miller as speakers.
These ceremonies tend to have a mix of community and solemnity. Children might play on a nearby playground while their parents keep one eye on them and the other on the ceremony. People will stand quietly as the speeches are made. They’ll think on the importance of this day as the bagpipes play “Amazing Grace.”
And they’ll remember.
Ceremonies like this will occur across our country on Monday. People will gather at monuments constructed in the memory of those who fought for our freedom. Maybe you’ve seen the World War II, Korean and Vietnam war monuments in Washington, D.C. It’s difficult not to feel the weight of sacrifice when in the presence of these edifices.
People have different opinions of war, and of specific wars, but there should be no argument over the value we give the men and women who fought and died for this country. Many of them had no choice, but they went overseas in service and never came back.
That’s worth an hour of contemplation out of everyone’s day.
You don’t have to travel to the nation’s capital, or attend a formal ceremony, to honor our military this Memorial Day.
You can wander the streets of Grass Valley and Nevada City, looking for plaques under overpasses and on bridge railings bearing the names of those who died for our country.
Or, like many people, you can gather with friends around a barbecue — a luxury that’s been lost to us for over a year.
Memorial Day is a different kind of holiday, and one we celebrate in different ways. You can attend a ceremony, or a barbecue. It’s likely many people will do both.
It’s important we honor the men and women who have died for our country. And it’s important we gather with friends and family to enjoy the freedoms they fought for.
And, above all else, it’s important we remember.
The weekly Our View editorial represents the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com
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