Wednesday, May 21, 2014

EDITORIAL >> Salute a vet this weekend

President Abraham Lincoln said, “A nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure.”

To that end, there are two major military ceremonies in the area this week and an opportunity to salute those who have died defending the country by placing flowers on veterans’ graves.

First, all schools, church groups, individuals and others are invited to meet at the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in North Little Rock at 3 p.m. Thursday to place flags on the gravesites of local military heroes.

Flags will be provided, but it would be a good idea to bring a screwdriver to make the necessary holes in the ground.

On Saturday, the Jacksonville Museum of Military History will commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day and dedicate its new exhibit with free admission, a military-vehicle display, a bluegrass band and free food.

The Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs will celebrate Memorial Day at 10 a.m. Monday, again at the veterans cemetery.

Free shuttles will run from Sherwood Forest from 8:30 until 9:55 a.m. and resume following the ceremony. Shuttles are equipped for those with disabilities as well.

The Veterans Coalition picnic will be at Sherwood Forest following the ceremony.

Memorial Day was originally called Deco-ration Day, and there are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with more than two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day.

There is also evidence that organized women’s groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War.

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868, by Gen. John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic and was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

Whether attending these events or not, everyone should take time this weekend to personally thank a vet.

For as writer Cynthia Ozick said, “We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.”

Let’s not do that this Memorial Day.

Remember, it is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.

— Rick Kron