Over the past week, hundreds of area high school students have earned their diplomas and culminated their careers in the School District of Palm Beach County. Of these, many will be turning to the United States Armed Forces for their short-term and long-term futures. And after basic training, these brave young men and women may find themselves overseas serving their country.
These young adults choosing a path in the military will be honored every year in November on Veterans Day. Hopefully, none will need to remembered on Memorial Day, the annual observance held the end of each May specifically designed not only to honor those who served, but remember those who were lost.
This year, Memorial Day falls on Monday, May 29. The national holiday dates back to 1868. The celebration originally commemorated the sacrifices of the Civil War, and the proclamation was first made by General John A. Logan. Following the proclamation, participants decorated the graves of more than 20,000 soldiers in an observance first known as Decoration Day.
In the years since World War I, the day has become a celebration of honor for those who died in all of America’s wars, while also honoring and thanking veterans and current members of the U.S. military for their service. In 1971, Memorial Day was formally declared a national holiday. Memorial Day is a time to remember 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.
The villages of Wellington and Royal Palm Beach will host observances on the morning of Monday, May 29 to honor the nation’s fallen heroes.
Royal Palm Beach’s Memorial Day ceremony begins at 9 a.m. at Veterans Park on Royal Palm Beach Blvd. Two veterans — U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Andrew Cuthbert, who served during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Sgt. Maj. Keith Anderson of the U.S. Army National Guard, who served during Operation Desert Shield — will speak at the event. American Legion Post 367 will lead a battle cross presentation, and there will be patriotic speeches by local officials. The Royal Palm Beach Community Band will perform both before and after the ceremony. For more information about the Royal Palm Beach Memorial Day observance, call (561) 790-5149.
The Village of Wellington’s Memorial Day events will be held in partnership with American Legion Chris Reyka Memorial Wellington Post 390. Post Commander Alan Ziker will do the introductions for the guest speaker, Michael Hall, a retired U.S. Navy Seal. The day begins with a parade at 8:15 a.m., and the ceremony will follow immediately after at 8:30 a.m. The parade will begin at the Wellington Municipal Complex and end at the Wellington Veterans Memorial, located at the corner of South Shore and Forest Hill boulevards. That will also be the site of the hour-long ceremony.
These ceremonies continue to be part of the fabric of both villages every year in order to pay tribute to fallen military heroes and the families who lost loved ones while they fought to maintain the liberties we cherish as Americans.
It is important for Americans to take time to remember the sacrifices that bought their freedoms. Along with the aforementioned local opportunities, here are some additional ideas on how to celebrate this important American holiday:
• Send a note of thanks to veterans you know.
• If you know someone who has lost a loved one in battle, offer to help with a household project or help meet a special need they have.
• Visit a local cemetery and place flags or flowers on the graves of fallen soldiers.
• Fly the American flag at half-staff.
• Participate in the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m., taking a minute to pause and reflect upon the meaning of Memorial Day.