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Posted: May 30, 2010 12:30 a.m.

Honoring the fallen

"I have never been able to think of the day as one of mourning; I have never quite been able to feel that half-masted flags were appropriate on Decoration Day. I have rather felt that the flag should be at the peak, because those whose dying we commemorate rejoiced in seeing it where their valor placed it. We honor them in a joyous, thankful, triumphant commemoration of what they did."

— Benjamin Harrison

 Monday we celebrate Memorial Day. It is a national holiday that children herald as the official start of summer — the end of the school year and the beginning of the swimming season. Adults can celebrate the long weekend in a similar fashion, but also take time to reflect on its true meaning, which is not national white-sale day.

 Memorial Day started out as "Decoration Day," ordered by then National Commander of the Grand Army of the Potomac General John Logan, to be a day that flowers of remembrance would be placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers.

  In 1882 the day was changed to Memorial Day in order to honor all veterans killed in any war.

 This is a bittersweet day for families in our community that have lost loved ones in any of our wars; it is a day that we celebrate the gallantry of the proud men and woman who have shed their blood in order for us to celebrate the life of freedom we enjoy today.

 Our nation has a wonderful tradition of honoring those brave souls; we need to never stop honoring their memories.

 We think that Memorial Day also is a day to honor our living veterans. A special time has been set aside on Monday to honor all of our veterans with a moment of silence. That time is 3 p.m. and it will be observed nationwide. You may want to show your thanks and respect at that time or by attending the American Legion Covington Post 32 ceremony on the square at 10 a.m.

 We want for you to enjoy swimming, grilling and camping on this grand day of remembrance. After all this type of merriment is part of the reason our veterans, deceased and living, served their country.

 If you know a veteran, somehow find the time Monday to give him or her great big hug and tell them thanks because America wouldn’t be America without them. Of course you can do this any day of the year and should whenever you have the chance.

 On behalf of all of us at The Covington News, enjoy your holiday safely but please don’t forget why we are celebrating.

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