Memorial Day weekend is a busy time for families, but they should never forget the meaning of the holiday. It’s more than just picnics, camping and family fun.
Hurry to Coupeville this morning, May 25, for reliving traditional America when virtually every town had a Memorial Day Parade. Coupeville is one of perhaps two towns in this entire state that keeps that tradition alive, with a parade every Saturday before Memorial Day.
It’s great for the kids to see our five remaining Pearl Harbor Survivors riding in VIP cars, veterans from World War II, Korea, the Gulf War, Iraq War and Afghanistan War marching up Main Street and down Front Street, all accompanied by community parade entries. The parade begins at 11 a.m. and picnic after in Town Park is just as memorable with patriotic music, solemn speeches and free hot dogs.
On Memorial Day itself, South Whidbey has two fine services, both starting at 11 a.m. U.S. flags will be fluttering over the graves of veterans as their service is honored at the Clinton Cemetery and Bayview Cemetery. Wreaths, speeches and associated formalities take place in front of veterans still living, service members still serving, family members who have lost loved ones who died for their country, or people who simply want to express their appreciation by attending a service.
The volunteers who keep these services alive should be commended. It’s hard, often thankless work to put on a ceremony, and frankly not a lot of people attend. But they do it for love of country, community and family, and their efforts should be appreciated.
All it takes is your attendance, which requires taking an hour’s break from family activities and driving out to the Bayview or Clinton cemeteries. Memorial Day is a proud time, a sad time and a happy time. Kids, particularly, should be given the chance to experience it all at a young age.
Parents might also inform their children that the roots of Memorial Day go back to the Civil War, after which those who died were honored on Decoration Day in cemeteries all over America. It’s a tradition worth passing on, even if it does interrupt a little fun.