By Mayor Charlene Lovett
For many of us, the approach of Memorial Day weekend is an eagerly awaited event as it marks the unofficial beginning of summer after a long and cold winter. It is a time to celebrate the arrival of warmer weather with barbecues and picnics, trips to the lake and a stop for an ice cream. Businesses offer Memorial Day sales and Farmers’ Markets open for the season. It is a time filled with the joys of summer, but it is also a time of remembrance.
On May 28th, communities across the nation will celebrate Memorial Day and we will have the opportunity to remember the men and women who died while serving in the military. This annual tradition first started in America after the Civil War when it became apparent that communities wanted to officially honor the hundreds of thousands who died while fighting in that terrible war. After World War I, the holiday was expanded to honor those who died in all American wars. Later in 1971, Congress made Memorial Day a national holiday and declared that it be celebrated on the last Monday in May.
How communities choose to celebrate this holiday often varies, but there are commonalities. Cemetery plots of the fallen will be decorated with flags. Parades and ceremonies will be organized, and flags will be flown at half-mast. These are all activities usually organized by military-related organizations with the support of the municipalities.
However, honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice is also an individual action. How will you honor the fallen? Will you attend or participate in a Memorial Day parade? Will you come to the ceremonies that commemorate the dead? Will you visit a cemetery or hang a flag? Will you wear a red poppy, the modern day symbol for those who died while in service? Will you post a sign or decorate your home?
Whatever the choice, it is a gesture of remembrance and gratitude to those whose lives were cut short. It is for us, the living, to ensure that their sacrifice is not forgotten. This requires action on our part.
If you are in Claremont on Memorial Day, please consider attending the parade which will start at 10:00am at the Middle School. If you have ever served in the military, please join us in honoring the fallen by marching or riding in the parade. Veterans who elect to march should arrive at the Middle School by 9:30. Veterans who prefer to ride should be there by 9:00am so proper transportation can be arranged.
If you would like to attend the ceremony following the parade, please join us in Broad Street Park. At the end of the ceremony, the American Legion will be hosting a free luncheon which is open to the public. If these are options unavailable to you, please consider what you can do to commemorate the fallen. Whatever you choose, have a wonderful day with family and friends!
Charlene Lovett is the Mayor of Claremont and welcomes your feedback. Please email questions, comments or concerns to her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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