Memorial Day is May 30.

Why we celebrate Memorial Day | Editorial

It’s a three-day weekend. It’s the launch of summer. It’s barbecue time.

The cultural significance of Memorial Day has shifted as the years have gone by, but it’s a holiday that is actually about stars and stripes – not sun and sand. It’s a day that honors and thanks the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Across the country there are legion services, parades and exhibits to recognize our fallen brothers and sisters.

Originally known as Decoration Day, the holiday originated in the years following the Civil War, and became an official federal holiday in 1971.

Civil War General John A. Logan asked for the day of remembrance, saying, “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of 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 and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

It’s powerful imagery that rings true nearly 150 years later. For those who have visited the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, it’s hard to forget the sight of white headstones that go for miles. It’s profoundly overwhelming and heartbreaking. Taking a trip to Washington, D.C. and Virginia to see the war memorials and national monuments is something that every American should do in his/her lifetime.

Regardless of your political views or feelings about war, recognizing the sacrifice of our veterans is something we all should do.

Please take time to honor the Americans who died in action. The American Legion is holding several events on Monday, May 30. The Color Guard will be paying tribute to past veterans at Mt. Baker Cemetery at 11 a.m. The public is encouraged to attend.

Everyone is also invited to attend the Memorial weekend “Freedom is Not Free” exhibit at American Legion, showcasing many photos and mementos shared by veterans and their families. The exhibit will take place at the American Legion Post 93 on Monday, May 30 from noon to 4 p.m