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Join a local Memorial Day event on Monday

Monday, the nation pauses to remember those who died to keep our country free. Men and women from all walks of life and backgrounds came forward to protect our way of life, starting even before the Revolutionary War and continuing to the present day.

Many died on the battlefields and on the seas, and this Monday, we must remember them and vow to keep our country so strong no one will attack us again.

Things have changed so much since I was a youngster. Dad and Mom used to bring my sister, two brothers and me into Morris from our farm home in Swan Lake Township. We would stand at the corner of Seventh Street and College Avenue to watch the National Guard soldiers, the Morris High School band and others march to the site where many white crosses stood at what is now part of Summit Cemetery. There a speaker would enthrall us, there would be the firing squad, Taps played, and then we’d walk around the cemeteries. You see Memorial Day was observed on May 30, and the nation actually came to a standstill; folks honored the war dead, not by going to the lake, shopping or a barbecue, but going to events, such as this one held in Morris. After the ceremony, we’d meet people we had not seen in years, as everyone, it seemed, would visit the cemetery on that day. Now, those that do come to decorate graves, come all week, and not all that many are there on Monday. Of course, with our mobile society, many in the Morris area have their relatives buried miles away, or ashes scattered, so they have no place to go.

So, why not join in your town’s Memorial Day event? In Morris, it starts at 9 a.m. at the Armory, followed by a VFW ceremony, with Taps and the firing squad at the Veterans Memorial at Seventh Street and College Avenue. This year the names of those who died in World War II from Stevens County will be read. It is the 70th anniversary of D-Day, so the VFW Post 5039 and the Auxiliary decided an excellent time to recall those who gave their all for our country during World War II.