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Memorial Date traditional day
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Dear Editor,
When I was growing-up, today’s holiday known as “Memorial Day” was referred to by my parents by its original name “Decoration Day” which always landed on May 30th. In recent years, due to a push to move federal holidays to Monday observances regardless of the original date: It is nice that this year’s 2016 calendar allows the last Monday in May to allow “Memorial Day” to be commemorated on its original May 30 date.
While “Memorial Day” or “Decoration Day” was designed to place flowers on honored “War Dead”, members of the military who had served their country in the Armed Services who had died while serving, many families, including my own parents, placed flowers or wreaths on graves of all deceased family members and loved ones.
The holiday was established in the year 1868. The holiday should not be confused with “Veterans Day” which celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, on Nov. 11, the anniversary of the ending or Armistice of World War I.
As for myself, when my health and schedule permits, I like to place flowers on graves on or before “Memorial Day” in the month of May, and due to my own preference I put flowers on all graves in family-plots. That is my way of “inclusion” of all members of the family, in a gesture of remembrance. They lived; they died but are still remembered. In previous years, I have even decorated gravesites of Riedl, Hampel, and Kober ancestors/relatives in Great Bend as well as in or near Olmitz, Hoisington, and Phillipsburg.
I kindly urge all readers to visit and pay respects to cemeteries during the “Memorial Day” weekend. For many people it marks the start of summer school vacations, fun recreation, summer recreation and other events. But, I sincerely hope that people will take a moment to honor those who died while keeping our nation free thus preserving our liberties to enjoy the lives we cherish today. I’d also hope people would take a moment to reflect at the grave of a veteran or non-veteran just to pause and keep the life of that person in your prayers or your consciousness. “Life is precious” is more than just a saying. It is something to be remembered by the living on this May 30th.

James A. Marples.