Letter to the Editor: People should join to remember the importance of Memorial Day



They took an oath. For some of us this was the oath of enlistment and others the oath of office. For most of our 240-plus years as a country, that oath of allegiance is to the Constitution, that document that begins “We the people” and was not given or directed to any person, or party or politics, except in the Revolutionary War, when there was no constitution yet, so the oath had more to do with soldiers and sailors disavowing any allegiance to the king of England — the only person ever mentioned in the oath by name, George III. We were a divided country then.

A day of decoration to place flowers on the graves of soldiers was commonplace, but it became important to many people to honor those fallen in the Civil War. Decoration Day was celebrated on many different days in parts of the country but, eventually, in 1868, became one day in May. We were a greatly divided country then. Memorial Day did not become a common name until after World War II. One hundred years later, in 1968 (also the year I entered the U.S. Navy, which will be 56 years this November), Congress created the three-day weekend for major holidays including Memorial Day. Some think this has diminished the importance of this celebration. We were a divided country then.

Those who served came together in groups of many colors, religious and political beliefs at different times in history and yet all served a single goal. Despite these differences, we became this family of brothers and sisters with a single purpose: to protect and defend our way of life. Most of us gave up time with families and our sweat. Some gave blood. Some gave up their mental health. Some gave parts of their bodies or senses. Some gave up their freedom as prisoners of war, and some of us gave their all.

It is right that together we remember those who gave their lives to this purpose. We are a divided country now, but even a country divided owes thanks to the diversity of those lives given to protect it. It is those lives we honor on Memorial Day.

Darrell Anderson

Battle Ground