Marine Corporal Eddie Alvarado and his family at the Bailey County Cemetery Memorial Day Service.
This is what Memorial Day is all about; not some sale or cook-out or day off work. Memorial Day is a day to remember; remember and honor and give thanks.
We started our Memorial Day week-end on Saturday attending the Cannon Air Force Base Air Show in Clovis, New Mexico. Airplanes, helicopters, drones, and equipment were on display, and all were impressive. But the stars of the day were the Air Force Flying Thunderbirds who performed their precision flying maneuvers that were spectacular and gave new meaning to the word “breathtaking.” We were able to shake the pilots’ hands and other soldiers on duty and thank them for their service to our country.
Memorial Day used to be called Decoration Day back when it started since originally it was a day set aside to honor those who lost their lives in the American Civil War. Families and friends would visit cemeteries to pay homage and respect to the loved ones who died in the war. As time went on, Decoration Day was also used as an appropriate time to remember other loved ones and decorate their graves with flowers or flags as well. So on Sunday afternoon we traveled to the Groom, Texas, cemetery to pay our respects to Bill’s mother and several other family members who are buried there.
Today, Monday, the official Memorial Day, we attended the Memorial Day service held annually at the old Bailey County Cemetery. A small but appreciative group participated as the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts raised the flag and led the Pledge of Allegiance. Elisabeth Beckerink sang “Letters from War, Pastor Mindy McLanahan from First United Methodist Church in Muleshoe gave us an interesting and informative lesson on the history of this holiday, and Elisabeth ended the service by leading us all in “The Star-Spangled Banner,” but I will admit most of us just listened to her and appreciated her willingness to perform it for us, not an easy song to sing solo.
On most Memorial Day weekends we just attend the cemetery service. This year was exceptional in that we had the privilege of paying our respects to those deserving our gratitude all weekend. So next year when you are tempted to overlook the meaning of Memorial Day, thank a soldier or living veteran for your freedom, decorate the grave of a veteran, a family member, or anyone who was important to your life.
And do not take it for granted that you are blessed to live in America.