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Put the meaning back into Memorial Day

Posted: May 29, 2010 11:27 p.m.
Updated: May 30, 2010 4:55 a.m.

It is easy to celebrate Memorial Day and allow its true meaning to escape us.

Gathering at barbecues or ball games with family and friends, Americans often overlook the holiday's origins and significance.

This year, let us try to remedy that. This year, let us pause on Memorial Day to honor our war dead from decades past and our soldiers overseas today, risking their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day was established in 1868 to commemorate those killed in the Civil War. Over time, it came to serve as a day to honor all Americans killed or missing in action in all wars.

Each year around Memorial Day, the Veterans of Foreign Wars distribute millions of bright red poppies in exchange for donations to help needy veterans and their orphans.

The poppies have become a national symbol of the sacrifice embodied by those who lost their lives in military service.

As you enjoy your long holiday weekend this year, take time to chat with a veteran, visit a monument or pay tribute to the fallen at a local cemetery.

Or join others in a national moment of remembrance Monday at 3 p.m. local time.

Let's put the meaning back into Memorial Day.

Our men and women in uniform - and those who served and died before them - deserve no less.


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