Local ceremony offers chance to reflect
Memorial Day marks the end of the school year, the opening of swimming pools and the start of summer despite what the calendar may say. Its place as a national holiday to remember the sacrifice of soldiers, sailors and marines can be overlooked in the varied seasonal activities suddenly available.
For the fourth consecutive year, the De Soto Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6654, with a big hand from the men's and women's auxiliaries and the local Boy Scouts will have a memorial service at the flag poles in De Soto Cemetery.
Traditions mean a lot in small communities like De Soto, and there was some concern when the Memorial Day ceremony was moved to the cemetery from old city hall. But in only its first year, it was recognized the new location was absolutely appropriate. The De Soto observance is a simple, dignified ceremony completely in character with the surroundings. Its solemn gravity is enhanced from the mourners visiting the cemetery to remember their loved ones.
The ceremony isn't the only way area residents can remember the occasion for the long weekend, but it demands respect and reflection from those who do attend.
That is especially true when violence in Iraq is filling new graves with members of the American armed forces. They are there because we citizens -- as the ultimate authority -- put them there, and their duty and sacrifice demand our reflection.
The reality of distant wars seems to have no place in our daily lives as we boat on a lake, watch a ball game, enjoy a barbecue or take an afternoon nap. The ceremony will bring that reality home.
We hope that many residents make their way to the observance but demand that all citizens remember past and present sacrifices of those called to duty.