Happy Memorial Day

It’s the unofficial start to summer, a time of year marked by beach getaways, cookouts and super sales. But most important, Memorial Day Weekend is a time to reflect on those who fought for our freedom and died preserving it.

There are all sorts of legends about how and when it began, but suffice it to say that Memorial Day, once called Decoration Day, had its roots in the Civil War and the tradition of decorating soldiers’ graves. Once celebrated on May 30, it is now officially the last Monday in May.

How to commemorate it? While everyone has his own traditions, you might start by watching the 30thannual “National Memorial Day Concert,” which takes place on the West Lawn of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. on the Sunday before (this year, May 26) and is broadcast on PBS. Check your local listings for the time.

On the day itself, raise the flag to full staff, then to half-staff but only until noon when you should raise it to full staff again.

Sport a poppy and read our own award-winning Phil Hall’s story of how the flower became the symbol of the war dead.

Listen to “Decoration Day” (1912) by Danbury composer Charles Ives.

Savor any number of poems about the day, including Joyce Kilmer’s “Memorial Day” and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Decoration Day.”

Last but never least, thank our veterans, turn out to see them in our local parades and volunteer with our veterans’ organizations. We honor the dead by serving the living.

From all of us at WAG, Happy Memorial Day.

– Georgette Gouveia

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