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Memorial Day Meanderings

If you ask most school-aged children why we observe Memorial Day, they probably will not have an answer or at least not the correct answer.

To many, Memorial Day Monday represents a federal holiday off work and school. The holiday also has expanded to include the entire weekend.

It usually heralds the unofficial start of summer. Picnic tables are cleaned off. Coolers are pulled from the garage or basement.

Picnics are planned in parks and backyards. Grills are heated up once again. Swimming pools are filled and awaiting visitors no matter how warm or chilly this day in the fickle month of May might be.

Memorial Day parades and services paying tribute to our deceased war heroes take place in many of our very patriotic Ohio Valley communities. Flag displays are up as reminders of the reason for the holiday.

For the families of these loved ones, Memorial Day entails a trip to their local cemeteries to decorate the graves of their troops who died in military service to his or her country.

Memorial Day is looked at as a somber holiday because it reflects the loss of some very special people. Over the years, and especially since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Memorial Day has expanded unofficially as a day to remember others who have died.

Yet I believe that every soldier who died in service to this country would want us to celebrate — celebrate the freedoms for which they died. They more than likely will be smiling down on us knowing that their sacrifice was not in vain.

So in addition to honoring them, why not enjoy that which they have provided us. Let’s grill those burgers and hot dogs and wear our red, white and blue attire. Take part in a Memorial Day ceremony. Visit a cemetery and place a flag on our heroes’ graves. Thank the surviving families for their loved ones’ sacrifice.

Spend some family time at today’s Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic where there are events for all ages at Wheeling’s waterfront. Or challenge yourself at Sunday’s Tough As Nails Urban Challenge.

The Wheeling Heritage Trail Bicycle Tour at Heritage Port pedals off on Monday morning for another family-style event for all ages. Our local parks are filled this weekend with celebrations of food, music and fun events. What better way to show our appreciation for the sacrifices made by our deceased soldiers than by enjoying what they have left for us all.

It’s Memorial Day Weekend; make it memorable.

Heather Ziegler can be reached via email at hziegler@theintelligencer.net.


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