Friday, May 26, 2017

EDITORIAL >> Memorial Day celebrations

We first celebrated Memorial Day as a response to the unprecedented carnage of the Civil War, in which some 620,000 soldiers on both sides died. The loss of life and its effect on communities throughout the country led to spontaneous commemorations of the dead. Now it honors all fallen military members and the freedom we have because of them.

We use that freedom to travel (about 37 million of us will hit the road) and consume about 71 million hot dogs, or 818 per second, on Memorial Day. Most of those hot dogs, as well as burgers and steaks, will be grilled as close to 60 percent of us will fire up the old Weber.

And the barbeque sauce of choice will be hickory, followed by mesquite, honey and spicy-hot closing in quickly.

Memorial Day is a day that we should all remember that we are hot dog, barbecue-lovin’ Americans who view the holiday as the unofficial start of summer and will, between passing the mustard and ketchup, take time to honor our bothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles who have made that ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

For only one thing rings true on Memorial Day: Honoring the members of the armed forces who died protecting this country and our freedom.

Celebration events abound in Jacksonville, Sherwood, Cabot and Beebe this weekend.

The Jacksonville Museum of Military History, at 100 Veteran Circle, will hold a Heritage Day from 10 a.m. till 5 p.m. today. Admission is free.

A special exhibit on Arkansas’ role in World War I will be on display all day. It was created by the Arkansas State Archives to commemorate the centennial of the First World War.

There will be American and German re-enactors of World War II soldiers, live music. Free hot dogs and hamburgers will be served from 11:30 a.m. till 1 p.m.

The film “Injury Slight...Please Advise” will be shown at 1:30 p.m.

The Arkansas Department of Veteran Affairs will host the Central Arkansas Memorial Day Ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday at the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in Sherwood.

The ceremony will honor all who served in the armed forces and recognize the sacrifice of those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom and their families.

Because of limited space, visitors are asked to park at Sherwood Forest, 1111 W. Maryland Ave. Free shuttle buses will run continuously between Sherwood Forest and the cemetery from 8:30 to 9:55 a.m. Shuttle buses will resume after the service.

Right after the ceremony, the Arkansas Veterans Coalition and the VWF Auxiliary will host the annual picnic at Sherwood Forest.

The American Legion in Cabot will host its annual bell-ringing ceremony at 11 a.m. Monday at the Veterans Park Community Center.

The Beebe VFW Post 7769 will hold a Memorial Day ceremony at 11 a.m. Monday at the Veterans Memorial at West Dewitt Henry Drive. After the service, snacks will be served at the post at 1405 E. Center St.

Don’t let the patriotism parade pass you by.