Letter: The Meaning of Memorial Day


Why do we celebrate Memorial Day? It is easy to forget what Memorial Day is all about as we sit around with family and friends barbecuing hamburgers and playing games with our children and grandchildren. But the historical reason for the day signifies much more than just a three-day weekend.

Memorial Day is a solemn day of remembrance to commemorate the lives of U.S. soldiers and other military personnel who sacrificed their lives and died in honor of their country. To date, that number exceeds one million persons who will never hold grandchildren or marry someone greatly loved, walk along sandy beaches or receive a big sloppy kiss from a while furry dog, or slurp down a messy chocolate ice cream cone.

Memorial Day celebrations started as far back as the Civil War, when it was called Decoration Day. James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery on the first Decoration Day with 5,000 participants decorating the graves of 20,000 union and confederate soldiers buried there. Memorial Day as Decoration Day eventually evolved to commemorate all American military who died in all wars. Today, the entire country celebrates this event to honor all the Americans who have died while taking part in military action of war.

So, you can imagine how shocked I was coming down the road from Top of the World heading into town and seeing LGBTQ flags lining the street in front of City Hall. I actually started crying thinking about how shocking and disrespectful the substitution of gay flags for U.S. flags was. The City Council took away this special time for honoring those who died to keep us free and I think this was a deplorable action.

Debby Bowes, Laguna Beach

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