Ever year for as long as I can remember, I've been part of the Sioux Center Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony. Whether it was riding a decorated bike at a young age, marching with the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts in uniform, or performing with the men's quartet, the past 22 years have taught me a lot about what this day really means. But do we all truly understand the significance of this national holiday?
Veterans Day, which we observe on November 11, is a day in which we recognize the service of all veterans that were members of the US Armed Forces. National Wreaths Across America Day, which we participate in around mid-December, is a day in which we remember all service members who are now deceased, both in peace and war time. In addition, there are numerous organizations that bring honor to Veterans, more than my character count will allow but each are doing a service to those who served us. While all of these deal with honoring veterans, Memorial Day was set aside as a day in which we honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice - their life for our freedoms and for those around the globe. To this day most of Europe is free, most of the Pacific is free, and thank God that America is free. This freedom came at a very high cost. We can never repay them for what they’ve done. All gave some, some gave all.
Memorial Day is not just an extra day off from work. It's certainly more than a day at the lakes or a family BBQ. It's a day to honor our fallen service men and women who, when asked, stepped forward to defend the oppressed. It's a day to remember and honor their service and their sacrifice. Each was a son, each was a solider, each was an American Hero, and each paid the price of their life for the life of others.
So you may be asking yourself, "What can I do to honor our fallen American Heroes?" Come out and watch the parade or services on Monday morning in your area. Honor our nation's flag by standing and removing your cap each time Old Glory passes by. Say a small prayer for each hero as their name is read, their flag is lowered, and honors are rendered. Do you have an American Flag flying at your home or business? Ensure that it is either at half-staff or tie a black ribbon to the top that is the same length as the flag between the hours of 8 AM and 12 PM.
These veterans never asked for anything in return for their service to our country. Freedom is not free and freedom is not cheap. Join me and millions of others nationwide as we dedicate this day to our fallen heroes. Together, we bring comfort to families hurting from the pain of losing a loved one. Together, we stand united in honor of those who gave their all. Together, we remember. Lest we forget.
Aaron Van Beek | President & Director
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