Letters

Letters 12-05-2016

Trump going back on promises I’m beginning to suspect that we’ve been conned by our new president. He’s backpedaling on nearly every campaign promise he made to us...

This Christmas, think before you speak Now that Trump has won the election, a lot of folks who call themselves Christians seem to believe they have a mandate to force their beliefs on the rest of us. Think about doing this before you start yelling about people saying “happy holidays,” whining about Starbucks coffee cup image(s), complaining about other’s lifestyles…

First Amendment protects prayer (Re: Atheist Gary Singer’s contribution to the Crossed column titled “What will it take to make America great again?” in the Nov. 21 edition of Northern Express.) Mr. Singer, the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

Evidence of global warming Two basic facts underlay climate science: first, carbon dioxide was known to be a heat-trapping gas as early as 1850; and second, humans are significantly increasing the amount of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels and other activities. We are in fact well on our way to doubling the CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere...

Other community backpack programs I just read your article in the Nov. 28 issue titled “Beneficial backpacks: Two local programs help children.” It is a good article, but there are at least two other such programs in the Traverse City area that I am aware of...

A ‘fox’ in the schoolhouse Trump’s proposed secretary of education, Betsy DeVos (“the fox” in Dutch), is a right-wing billionaire; relentless promoter of unlimited, unregulated charter schools and vouchers; and enemy of public schooling...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Memorial Day
. . . .

Memorial Day

Kristi Kates - May 24th, 2010
Memorial Day:More Than Just a Picnic
By Kristi Kates
Contrary to the belief of thousands of happy three-day weekenders and
returning summer visitors, there’s a lot more to Memorial Day weekend than
just picnics, parties, and retail sales.
Although all of those things do mark the official start of the summer
season Up North, the holiday that all of this frivolity is based on
sometimes gets lost in the yearly summer shuffle.
Memorial Day was first known as “Decoration Day,” dedicated to honoring
the nation’s Civil War casualties -- more than 600,000 from 1861-65. On
Decoration Day, graves were decorated with flowers and other items, a
tradition that began in small towns across America after a proclamation
was made by General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic (an
organization of former soldiers and sailors.) On the first official
celebration of Decoration Day on May 5, 1868, General James Garfield
marked the occasion by making a speech at Arlington National Cemetery in
honor of the 20,000 soldiers buried there.
By the late 1800s, most of the country was celebrating what was now called
Memorial Day. It wouldn’t be long before the holiday was expanded to
include those who had died in all of America’s wars, not just the Civil
War.
In 1971, the U.S. Congress finally declared Memorial Day as an official
national holiday, and the date was changed to the last Monday in May;
Veterans Day had already been established 17 years earlier, dedicating
November 11 as a day to honor all veterans both gone and still living.

NATIONAL AND LOCAL
Today, the national effort is still going strong. Much like that very
first Decoration Day, there is a special ceremony at Arlington National
Cemetery on Memorial Day each year in which a small American flag is
placed on each grave. Also each year, the U.S. president or vice-president
gives a speech and places a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at
Arlington, an event attended annually by around 5,000 people.
Locally, Petoskey is just one of many communities that honor the holiday
with special events and ceremonies.
“There’s an organization in Petoskey that hosts a Memorial Day parade, and
we also have a nice wreath-laying ceremony at the memorial here in
Pennsylvania Park,” says Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce President
Carlin Smith. Petoskey’s ceremonies will also include the placing of a
memorial wreath in the Bear River, while neighboring communities will also
present parades.
Traverse City will host similar events, while Mackinaw City will present
its annual Fort Michilimackinac Pageant, with 400 cast members re-creating
events that took place between the French and British and the Native
American tribes; and a road trip to slightly larger Michigan cities will
highlight more extensive recognition of our war heroes. The Great Lakes
Naval Memorial and Museum’s Lost Boat Ceremony in Muskegon on May 30,
honoring the 53 submarines and 3,000 men who lost their lives during World
War II, is one such Memorial Day event; but the larger-scale events are
quite few and far between given the scope of those who were lost.

REFLECTION AND HONOR
Part of the difficulty in keeping Memorial Day’s original meaning intact
is that visitors and residents alike may simply become forgetful regarding
what the holiday actually means during the busy weekend of Up North
vacation activities.
“I agree that there’s definitely much more to the holiday,” Smith says.
“I’m actually the son of a veteran - he’s no longer with us - but we
always use Memorial weekend as a reflective time in our family to honor my
dad and his life with us.
“As far as the community goes, don’t get me wrong - we do enjoy the fact
that it serves as the kick off for summer, and it’s nice of course to have
the extra time off,” Smith continues, “but Memorial Day was created for a
reason, and I feel it’s important for all Americans to stop and pause
during the weekend to reflect on the real meaning of the holiday, the
lives lost, and the sacrifices that were made for our country.”

To find out more about local Memorial Day activities, visit your town’s
community website.  


 
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