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Remembering Those Who Gave All

Memorial Day weekend is upon us. It is a time set aside to honor those brave men and women who gave their life while serving our country in the Armed Forces.  It should not to be confused with Veteran’s Day which occurs in November and honors everyone who has served our country.  

My family includes many former members of the military.  Thankfully, they all made it home safely once their service ended.  I do think of friends who weren’t as fortunate.  I can only imagine the pain their families have faced.  One of my friends and former co-workers, Tommy Spakes, lost his dad in Vietnam when he was just a small child.  Another friend I grew up with, Wayne HIbbard, lost his brother, Ronnie, also in Vietnam.  Other friends have lost loved ones in places like Afghanistan, Korea, Iraq, and even in the United States.  We should never forget these soldiers nor their families.  

Memorial Day used to be known as Decoration Day and came about after the Civil War.  It was always celebrated on May 30.  However, in 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act which moved the holiday to the last Monday in May.  That law also established Memorial Day as a federal holiday.   The changes went into effect in 1971.  

My son is 11 years old.  He has learned the basics about both Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day in his Social Studies classes in school.  It is my job as a parent to make sure he knows that people have fought and even died for the freedom we enjoy every day.  I plan on taking him to the East Tennessee Veterans Memorial this weekend.  He has visited the monument our hometown of Oak Ridge, TN, has for our fallen soldiers as well as the one the City of Maryville, TN, has for the ones they have lost.  I also want to take him to Arlington National Cemetery as well as the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, DC one day.  It is important to me that he knows and respects these sacred places and the soldiers honored there.  

While many of us will use this three day weekend to cookout or enjoy time at the lake or a pool, please remember those families who will be visiting their loved ones in a cemetery and/or participating in parades to honor them.  We have so much to thank all of them for.

God Bless,
Mike Kelly

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
#967Merle #Knoxville #KnoxRocks

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