Well, Lake County, it's that time of year again. Don't forget Memorial Day is almost upon us Monday, May 27.
Came on quickly, didn't it? I am compelled to offer an annual Memorial Day reminder.
Flags go out at Lake View Cemetery in Two Harbors on Friday, May 24, starting at approximately 8:30 a.m. If you know of a veteran buried outside the veterans section, and with a civilian or family marker, then let someone know so the flag crew won't miss them. Each year, some are missed - it's inevitable. Call other cemeteries or townships if looking for flag posting info at other locations.
Volunteers for beautifying the area are also needed. Remember, these are volunteers, not sanctioned by any veteran organization or the Lake County Veterans Service Office. Generally, veterans doing it for veterans.
If a grave is missed (family or civilian markers, overgrown, etc.) don't become indignant or angry. If you care that much, make a phone call, get out there to make sure a flag is in place, or mark the grave somehow.
Local Memorial Day programs
Community programs are scheduled in Two Harbors and Silver Bay.
In Two Harbors, the program is at the high school. Music starts at 9:30 a.m., with the City Band playing selections, and the formal program starts at 10 a.m. James Latvala, USMC-Vietnam, will be the speaker.
After the high school program, we'll meet at Lake View Cemetery's veteran section (west side near the flagstaff) at about 11:15 a.m. Military honors will be conducted and the flag raised to full staff, then program participants and attendees are invited to a picnic-style lunch, catered by Louise's, at American Legion Post 109 in downtown Two Harbors.
The Silver Bay program is at the Minnesota Veterans Home at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, May 26 - not Monday, May 27. Representatives from the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center in Superior will conduct a flag-folding presentation.
Memorial Day reminds us of our solemn duty to remember our service personnel killed in action or in service, and also to remember the bereaved families left behind. Let's not forget those wounded soldiers, either, but the day is first and foremost for remembrance of our fallen. Some suggestions for Memorial Day:
• Visit cemeteries or memorials. Place a flag or floral arrangement on graves of soldiers. You don't have to know who it is.
• Display the American flag at half-staff until noon. Include the POW/MIA flag if possible.
• Make a pledge to aid disabled veterans, and survivors of the dead - and keep it.
• You may support the efforts to restore the traditional day of observance of Memorial Day back to May 30. You may or may not agree with this, but it was an act of Congress. I personally believe the last Monday in May is an acceptable observance. But, if it were to be voted on in Congress to move the remembrance permanently to May 30, I'd prefer that.
• Finally, pray. Can that word be used in this day and age, or have I committed a linguistic or politically incorrect faux pas, and have I offended anyone? Too bad. Pray for the souls of our fallen, and their families, to find peace. They lost their lives in service to their country and shed their blood to preserve the happiness and way of life we have today. It's the right thing to do.
• Something more about Memorial Day Day - not too many people will do this, much less remember it.
National Moment Of Remembrance
About 22 years ago, a survey was conducted of children and they were asked why they think there is a holiday on Memorial Day. Their remarks were all associated with barbecues and long weekends, and they hadn't the vaguest idea about the sacrifices of the soldiers who are remembered. Sure, these are kids, but shouldn't the adults in their lives be teaching them the significance of the day?
Well, the National Moment of Remembrance was born to remind us and to let future generations know about the significance of the day. It is now (or should be) an American tradition.
The National Moment of Remembrance requires a minute of silence, exactly at 3 p.m., when taps is played, if available, and we reflect on the sacrifices of so many.
N.V. "Vince" Sando is the veteran service officer for Lake County. He can be reached at 218-834-8326.