Sunday, May 24, 2015

Celebrating the Real Meaning of Memorial Day

It is too easy to fall into the trap, the habit, of treating Memorial Day as just a selfish personal party day, a vacation day, disconnected from the original purpose of setting aside this holiday as a federal occasion for solemnity and serious thought of others.  Those 'others' made our daily life, our security, our history and even our very existence possible the way we know it.

To all our valued readers, please -- take time this weekend, more than just a few seconds, or a minute, and think long and hard about those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the rest of us.  Appreciate those who have given their time and effort in military service on Veterans day (and we should think of them EVERY day, including those serving currently), but especially think of those who died in service to protecting this country, the ultimate act of patriotism.  That is the purpose of Memorial Day.

Respect and honor them.  Revere them.  Remember them with gratitude.  Please, do not take our security and our heritage for granted.

via KSTP:
Golden Valley Man Continues Mission to Bring Meaning Back to Memorial Day
By: Cassie Hart
An annual tradition of flags lining a street in Golden Valley for Memorial Day continues.
Starting the week before Memorial Day, Golden Valley’s Flag Row runs along Golden Valley Road from Highway 100 to Winnetka Avenue N. It’s lined with hundreds of U.S. flags and POW-MIA flags to pay tribute to those who have fallen.
It’s a tradition that has been kept alive thanks to a few volunteers. But it all started with one man several years ago.
"I put them up a week before Memorial Day to help bring awareness before the holiday," 52-year-old John Giese of Golden Valley said.
The Army and Air Force veteran went to Walgreens the night before Memorial Day 2006 and bought every 12-by-18 inch flag in the store. He typed “Pfc Gavin Colburn, 2005” on pieces of paper and taped them to the sticks of every flag and placed them in front of every house of someone he knew. The 30 flags extended from the Hwy 100 Frontage Road to Oak Grove Church. 
Giese met Colburn, a fellow truck driver, the day he arrived in Iraq with the U.S. Army Reserve. They talked about home and agreed to talk more later. Colburn’s convoy left on a mission. Three hours later, the 20-year-old from Ohio was killed by an improvised explosive device. Giese said he found out about it the next morning.
"That just kind of had an impact on me," Giese said.
He met two more men while on tour who died a short time later.
When Giese got back home, he said he wanted to bring meaning back to Memorial Day.
"I wanted to let people know that it's not only about a four-day weekend," he said.
He continues his mission with Golden Valley’s Flag Row, which has grown to more than 600 flags lining the route.
Giese said those who want to help in his cause should put up a flag at their home.
"Take the time and do something to recognize why you got the day off of work in the first place. Go to a memorial service," Giese said, adding that people should talk to their kids about why they are not in school for the day.
People are encouraged to walk or drive the 1 1/2 mile route on Golden Valley Road to pay tribute to fallen military soldiers. The flags are up until 5 p.m. Memorial Day.
There are 83,126 POWs still unaccounted for since Wold War II.

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