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Dickinson State University will host a Memorial Day ceremony for the community Monday, May 29, in Dorothy Stickney Auditorium in May Hall at 10 a.m.

Memorial Day is also filled with family traditions, as well as parades and other commemorations in local communities. But in the midst of it all we should never forget that many have died so that we can enjoy such pleasures.

It is these fearless Americans, who gave "the last full measure", whom we honor on Memorial Day.

The name "Memorial Day" first starting seeing use in 1882. The American Automobile Association estimates that 39.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from their homes this weekend.

No one is certain of how, when or where Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, began. It is important that at least once a year we take some time to remember and honor that sacrifice.

Memorial Day continued to be a day of observance for soldiers who had been killed in the Civil War until after World War One.

Although it did not become an official federal holiday until 1971, Americans have been honoring military veterans who died in wars since after the Civil War.

Memorial Day is about remembering those who died for our freedom.

The dates and places where these courageous defenders made the supreme sacrifice may be widely disparate, but the cause for which they died is the same.

By the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held on May 30 throughout the nation. The Civil War alone is accountable for the deaths of 620,000 military personnel.

On Saturday Boy and Girls Scouts placed American flags on the graves of fallen soldiers at Sunrise Memorial Cemetery in Vallejo.

In a modern-day twist, Americans are being asked to set their cell phone alarms for 3 p.m. Monday as a reminder for the National Moment of Remembrance. In the years since, of course, the day has expanded to include all soldiers who gave their lives defending our country.

That date is in recognition of the armistice that ended World War I in 1918, and the day recognizes all who served in the US military (living or deceased), as opposed to Memorial Day, which specifically honors those who died in that service.

While Memorial Day honors fallen soldiers, it's also an opportunity to thank those now serving in the military. They should know that without the grandest sacrifice by their forefathers, we would not be the nation we are today.

Admitting women into the infantry does mark a significant change, not only increasing opportunities for women, but increasing the pool of Americans who might serve in our military. We also continue to bury hundreds of veterans from World War II, that greatest generation, as well as thousands more who have served our nation honorably. I have fond memories as child walking to a graveyard in Nolan WV where my grandfather and other family members were buried.


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