Roberta Naas /

Flags in honor of those who served, (at George Washington Memorial Cemetary, NJ)

So many people think of Memorial day as picnics, walks on the beach and the start of summer. In reality, it honors those who have died in service. Every Memorial Day, when I go to the cemetery to place flags on my father’s grave (he was a Marine in World War II) and on my uncle’s grave (he was in the Army during World War II), I am always truly touched by the vast expanse of American Flags waving on the ground – marking the graves of so many brave who served in the armed forces to protect our soil and our freedom and who died doing so. Sometimes I am even lucky enough to get there when the local Veterans have processionals at the cemetery to honor the fallen heroes. Visiting the cemetery always brings tears to my eyes, but on Memorial Day, the deep swell of love and pain, of honor and pride intensifies my feelings. I am proud to have holidays that honor these men and women.

It was in 1868 that Memorial Day was officially proclaimed. Originally, the day was called Decoration Day, and was developed as a day of remembrance in America for those who have died in our nation’s service. It is a day where the American flag runs high – not only in cemeteries, but also on flagpoles around the country and in the homes of those who have served and continue to serve.

I am certain that if and when we ever get past COVID-19, there will be a day to truly honor the first responders – police officers and emergency personnel, the healthcare workers and others who fought this deadly virus and died doing so. It is sad to think this, but it is important to remember — the virus isn’t about numbers — it’s about people and lives. God Bless us all.