Memorial Day

Memorial Day traditionally marks the beginning of a new season even if summer officially is a few weeks off. Our streets become parade routes festooned with flags and marching bands. The busy lives we live don’t always allow for time to stand on the roadside and patiently watch for the first sign of a fire truck coming down Main Street, or pause on the sidewalk to wait for the advancing sounds of a marching band.

We see young and old pass in procession. And we applaud and cheer. There is palpable excitement when the sirens wind up. We look around and nod with our neighbors. A wave and a hello leads to conversation, often small talk but the totality of this Memorial Day moment is the connective tissue we depend on as a community. We take time out to visit.

Families and neighbors and friends come together. Children race around the lawn. Dogs pull on their leashes. Mothers and fathers push strollers. An older generation totes folding chairs and settles in before the speeches start.

By the time the ceremonies conclude, and we exchange friendly parting words with our neighbors and friends, we have once again been reminded of the solemn nature of what we all just witnessed. Americans have been recognizing our fallen soldiers since the years following the Civil War. In 1868, a group of Union veterans calling themselves the Grand Army of the Republic established Decoration Day, a time to place flowers on the graves of war dead. May 30 was chosen as a ideal day for the observance because flowers would likely be in bloom all across America.

This year our reporters witnessed Memorial Day celebrations in towns throughout the Northwest Corner. (Please see our coverage here.)

While Memorial Day has become synonymous with the advent of a welcome season of summer vacation from schools, graduations and time to enjoy the outdoors and plan a family vacation, as a nation we also bookend this time with a day to soberly reflect and remember those who went before — who gave their lives in service to our country. We especially appreciate the words of Jonathan Ialongo, a Millbrook native who served two tours in Afghanistan, who delivered heartfelt remarks on Monday, May 27. “Many people always wonder how you honor those who make the ultimate sacrifice,” he said. “And I always say, be somebody worth that sacrifice.”

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