To some, Memorial Day -- Monday, May 31 -- marks the unofficial start of summer. It is little more than a day off from work and an opportunity to relax and enjoy a three-day weekend.
But let's not forgot what Memorial Day stands for. It should be remembered for much more than an excuse to break out the barbecue for the first time this year. It is a chance to honor those who have gone to battle for our country and our freedom.
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died while serving our nation. It's origins date back to the American Civil War, but its importance is as noteworthy today as ever.
Memorial Day presents us with an opportunity to put our patriotism on display. It is a time to be united, not divided, and remember those who paid the ultimate price to help assure our nation of its freedoms. It should also be a time to thank those living who have served or are serving our country.
Borrowing from and paraphrasing suggestions published a few years back by The Washington Times, we should celebrate the principles and display the symbols that have been so important to us since the founding of our country.
* Hoist the red, white and blue and fly it proudly. Each flag that is raised is a testament to our enemies that we will never bow.
* Applaud American troops loud and clear, whether during a memorial or at a parade. Shower the troops with the accolades they so deserve.
* Simply take a moment to remember.
* Say a heartfelt thank you. Several events in Polk County (see schedule, Page 9A) and in surrounding areas provide the opportunity to do just that.
* Honor the nation's fallen: The dead should be remembered at their final resting places. Recall who they were, where they fell and why they fought. Visit a memorial and pay tribute.
Whatever you do, don't forget the significance of Memorial Day and what it means to our country. We can never forget.