A day for all to remember

Posted By | May 23, 2006 12:00 am

Missy Jones
Memorial Day is more than just a three-day weekend, it is a day to remember the thousands who died in service to our country, while fighting for the freedom that makes this nation great.
Memorial Day dates back to the Civil War, and was originally called Decoration Day because the day was intended to be a time of honoring the War heros who died in service by decorating their graves.
The holiday was originally observed on May 30, 1968.
An official proclamation by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, was issued and as a result flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.
In 1873, New York became the first state to recognize the holiday, and by 1890 all northern states were observing Memorial Day.
For many years the Southern stated refused to honor the holiday, but after World War I the day was changed to honor all soldiers who died while serving America, not just Civil War veterans.
In 1971, congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday, it is currently celebrated the last Monday in May to insure a three-day holiday for federal employees.
There is currently legislation to change the date back to May 30th, in the hopes of regaining some significance of the holiday by the American people.
It is felt the day has lost its sacred meaning and become
“Just another three-day weekend.”
It is traditional to place
small American Flags on the graves of war veterans.
It is also customary for the president to offer a speech, at Arlington National Cemetery, honoring the fallen soldiers, and a wreath is laid at the tomb of the unknown soldier. (www.historychannel.com)
Some ways considered acceptable to celebrate Memorial Day are; visiting cemeteries and placing flowers and flags on graves of war veterans, visiting memorials, flying flags at half staff until noon, flying pow/MIA flags, participating in a national moment of remembrance at 3p.m. to reflect on true meaning while playing taps, renewing a pledge to aid the widows, widower and orphans of our fallen heros and to aid disabled veterans. (www.usmemorialday.org)
White County residents are planning to celebrate the holiday in a variety of ways.
A heritage of service
Don Cole is no stranger to war, his father, uncles, cousins, and he himself fought for the freedoms this country holds so dear.
Cole fought in Vietnam from 1966-1967.
He was in the 26th Marine Corp.
“The 26th was also the first expedition into Afghanistan,” said Cole.
Cole was wounded three times in four months, but only received one Purple Heart because he never left the field.
He was hit with shrapnel that lodged into his head, he was blown out of a truck, and a handgranade exploded 1 foot above his head leaving fragments lodged in his brain and spinal fluid leaking.
Cole’s father, Euklie Bernice Cole served in the U.S. Navy during WWII, and was wounded and awarded a Purple Heart.
Don had three uncles who also served in WWII.
“At one time my dad and all three of his cousins were stationed on the same ship,” said Cole.
“They were all four wounded.”
Don’s uncle, Bobby Roberts received three purple hearts while in active duty, his Uncle Ray Cole was killed in combat during WWII.
Cole comes from a long line of American soldiers who believed in protecting their country and the freedom all Americans enjoy.
“Memorial Day is a time when I think back to how it was for me, and I remember all the war stories about my family members,” said Cole.
“All the years and all the soldiers we have lost in war.”

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