Two occasions coincide this weekend in our community: Memorial Day weekend and the beginning of summer vacation for Powell’s school children.
Both are important to remember.
With school getting out on Friday, children are in summer mode. In their enthusiasm, they may forget the rules of the road. Often, their carefree play involves balls, pets, bicycles or other things that may stray out into the street. Consequently, drivers need to be on the lookout for children who may dart into the street unexpectedly, possibly from between parked cars. Be aware of what is going on around you as you drive, and expect the unexpected. A little extra caution can prevent a tragedy.
Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America.
According to USMemorialDay.org, the annual observation began during the Civil War to honor the dead in that conflict. The day was chosen by General John Logan in 1868 because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle, USMemorialDay.org says.
After World War I, it became a day to honor Americans who died in any conflict; Congress passed a bill officially recognizing Memorial Day as a federal holiday in 1971.
That change gave Americans another three-day weekend each year. Unfortunately, it also removed some of the emphasis from honoring those who gave their lives in the defense of our freedom. Today, too many Americans view the holiday only as a chance to get away or enjoy a barbecue.
We’re not begrudging anyone their Memorial Day barbecues; in fact, we’re likely to join in on the fun ourselves. But we do encourage people to pause to remember the 1.3 million service members who died in wars during United Sates history, beginning with the 4,435 people who laid down their lives during the Revolutionary War to give us our freedom.
During the Civil War, 364,511 soldiers from the North and 199,110 from the South died in battle.
A total of 116,516 American soldiers were killed during World War I, and another 405,399 during World War II.
The Korean War claimed the lives of 36,574 young Americans, and another 58,209 died in the Vietnam War.
Beginning with the Persian Gulf War in 1987, through operations Freedom’s Sentinel and Inherent Resolve in 2015 to the present, 7,442 U.S. servicemen and women have died in conflicts in the Middle East, according to the Memorial Day Foundation.
A complete list of the number of deaths in each war and conflict in United States history can be viewed at http://tinyurl.com/US-war-deaths.
We encourage everyone to take a moment Monday to remember and reflect on the sacrifice of these young men and women in service of our country.
In Powell, the remembrances will include a Memorial Day ceremony at 10 a.m. at Crown Hill Cemetery.