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A renewed interest in Memorial Day

The Chronicle divvied up coverage of Memorial Day services among the three people of its editorial staff, with each taking in two communities — Glencoe, Plato, New Auburn, Silver Lake, Stewart and Brownton all had a photographer present.
There were no complaints about the assignments, even though it is technically a holiday for our staff. We all, it seems, feel it’s important to honor our country’s fallen and to document the observances in our area communities.
Unfortunately, trying to get to six communities meant that we were not always able to stay for the full service at each. But we were still able to take away a little something from each.
It is obvious that people have taken more interest in Memorial Day since the 9-11-2001 terroristic attacks on American soil. Those attacks brought the battles being fought in the Middle East to our doorsteps. They no longer seemed half a world away. And we began to appreciate anew the bravery of our men and women in military service and the fact that they are willing to lay down their lives for their countries.
In Stewart, we heard McLeod County Veterans Services Officer Cassandra Carrigan talk about her firsthand experience with the loss of one of her comrades to a roadside bomb in 2006.
We heard similar stories at other services.
We also heard a plea from one speaker to try to return Memorial Day to its original intent — to honor those who gave up their lives in battle for the service of their country.
Memorial Day has its roots in the post-Civil War era, when General John Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic ordered May 30, 1868, as a day for the “strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, hamlet churchyard in the land.”
Over the years, people have broadened the meaning of the day to include veterans who have died since their military service, and even loved ones who have never served their country in the Armed Forces.
The speaker also noted that people seem to be confusing Memorial Day with Veterans Day. Veterans Day is the day in which we think the living veterans for their service to their country.
We agree that Memorial Day should be reserved for those who offered up the ultimate sacrifice for their country. On the other hand, there is never a bad time to thank a veteran for his or service. They may not have made the ultimate sacrifice, but they were willing to make it if called upon to do so.
Regardless, we salute all those who have served. But especially those who gave their lives.