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Memorial Day needs more involvement from next generation

EDITORIAL

The Advocate-Messenger

An excellent Memorial Day service was held over the weekend at Danville Memorial Gardens.

The weather was superb and the speakers highlighted the significance of the long weekend and the importance of remembering those who died in defense of freedom.

“Be thankful that such brave men and women have lived … who bravely rose up and fought for something greater than themselves, protecting a home to which they never returned,” veteran Jack Hendricks, one of the speakers at the event, told the small crowd. “… They gave up their todays for our tomorrows.”

It would have been appropriate to see many more people at the event than those who attended. We know many people have busy schedules and barely have time to get everything done, even on the weekends. But we also know there are more people in Boyle County who had their Saturday free than those who came to the Memorial Day service.

Saturday’s speakers touched on this issue in a positive way, advocating for increased understanding among members of the public about what Memorial Day is about. And they pointed out astutely that people must realize Memorial Day is not only about veterans who died in the wars of the early and middle 20th century, but those in modern wars and those who serve in the future, as well.

The speakers said younger generations need to be taught what Memorial Day is about so they can continue to carry the tradition forward. We agree. The young adults and teenagers of today will be the adults of tomorrow, who decide what we celebrate and why.

In order for Memorial Day to retain cultural value beyond just being an extra day off of work, younger people must get involved. They must learn about the day’s roots. They must learn from the older generations why they value the day. They must examine their own values and beliefs. And ultimately they must take the torch and lead the memorial day remembrances of the future, making sure to include the next generation.

As Hendricks said at Saturday’s event, “If we don’t carry forward the memory, our young men and women will not know its history.”