Memorial Day is a time to remember fallen soldiers — members of the United States military who gave their lives in service to our nation. It is important for us to recall the meaning of the holiday and show appreciation for those who were lost, as well as veterans who have survived.
This time of year is filled with observances designed to honor veterans and recall those who were lost. For example, two weeks ago, Southeast Florida Honor Flight (www.honorflightsefl.org) brought 20 World War II veterans and 61 Korean War veterans to Washington, D.C., for a long day visiting memorials. This marked the first trip where there were more Korean War veterans than World War II veterans. Their journey to the nation’s capital included airfare, bus transportation, meals, T-shirts and other amenities required to travel comfortably — and the veterans were escorted by a team of well-trained volunteers and guardians who personally accompanied this elite group of visitors on the aircraft and during their tours. The next trips take place Sept. 10 and Oct. 8. Last weekend, the Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches culminated its season with a patriotic tribute to fallen soldiers with concerts at the Lake Worth and Palm Beach Gardens campuses of Palm Beach State College. Numerous veterans, both in attendance and in the band, were honored for their service to our nation.
For too many, Memorial Day has lost its meaning, instead treated as another three-day weekend. Don’t let that happen! Make plans to honor those who served, and died, for our freedoms. Locally, there are several activities taking place on Monday, May 30. In Royal Palm Beach, a Memorial Day Observance will take place at the Veterans Park Amphitheater on Royal Palm Beach Blvd., starting at 9 a.m. with a flag-raising ceremony and patriotic presentations. There will be a live musical performance by the Royal Palm Beach Community Band after the ceremony, along with free refreshments. For more information about this event, call (561) 790-5149 or visit www.royalpalmbeach.com.
The Village of Wellington and the American Legion Chris Reyka Memorial Wellington Post 390 will honor veterans with a Memorial Day Parade starting at the Wellington Municipal Complex (12300 W. Forest Hill Blvd.) at 8:15 a.m. The parade will end at the Wellington Veterans Memorial at the corner of Forest Hill and South Shore boulevards. All veterans are invited to walk in the parade. A ceremony at the memorial will follow at 8:30 a.m. For more information about this event, call (561) 791-4082 or visit www.wellingtonfl.gov.
As Memorial Day 2016 approaches, we should all take time to reflect on the service of these brave men and women of the United States military, regardless of our political views. Memorial Day should be a day of reflection, of realizing that the oft-cited “freedom isn’t free” mantra is more real than ever, as the United States continues to have a military presence in hotspots across the globe. Honoring the service of those who were lost is the least we can do.