Guest editorial: Do not forget

By on May 27, 2010

It is embarrassingly easy for many of us to forget that our nation is currently fighting two wars. We may “know” it, but it is all too easy to forget about the loss of life and limb that occurs virtually every day in defense of our nation.

It is embarrassingly easy to forget about the countless drops of blood, sweat and tears that have been shed through the generations by the very best of us, on behalf of the rest of us.

It is embarrassingly easy to look at Memorial Day as simply a day off work; a time to have a picnic or barbecue with family and friends; a day to spend relaxing.

A day of remembrance was first officially proclaimed in May 1868 by General John Logan, commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11. It was first observed on May 30, 1868.

“The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit,” the beginning of the order states.

After World War I, Memorial Day was expanded to remember Americans who had fought and died in any war. When Congress passed the National Holiday Act of 1971, Memorial Day was officially set as the last Monday in May.
We urge all local residents to take part in their local Memorial Day observance, and furthermore, to never take for granted what has been bought and paid for with the ultimate sacrifice.

“All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.

If other eyes grow dull, other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain to us.

Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation’s gratitude, the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.”

—General John Logan,
National Commander
Grand Army of the Republic
General Order No. 11

In Elburn, Memorial Day observances Monday, May 31, will begin with a parade at 9:15 a.m. It will start at Elburn Lions Park and end at the Blackberry Cemetery.
There, members of the Elburn American Legion, local Boy and Girl Scouts, and members of the community will take part in a ceremony, including guest speaker Bill Foster, congressman representing the 14th Congressional District.
Following the ceremony, the Legion will offer coffee and refreshments at the Legion Hall.

Sugar Grove
Sugar Grove’s Memorial Day services will begin at 9:15 a.m. at Jericho Cemetery on Mighell Road. Participants will then proceed to the Sugar Grove cemetery on Merrill Road at 10 a.m., where a ceremony will take place.

Maple Park
The village of Maple Park’s Memorial Day program will begin with a parade that will be at the following locations at the following times:
• 9:10 a.m. Pierce Cemetery—Owen Road and Pritchard Road, Troxel
• 9:30 a.m. St Mary’s Cemetery—County Line Road South of Route 38
• 9:45 a.m. Gardner Cemetery—Route 38 East of County Line Road
• 10 a.m. Van Vlack Cemetery—Thatcher Road east of Maple Park
• 10:15 a.m. Sts. Peter & Paul Cemetery—Meredith Road South of Virgil
• 10:30 am South Burlington Cemetery—Ramm and Snyder roads, west of Peplow Road
• 11:15 am Ceremony at Post Home—Main Street, Maple Park

The Kaneville Township 115th Annual Memorial Day Program will be held at 10 a.m. in Kaneville at the Dave Werdin Community Center.
Guest speaker will be former resident Evan Mahan, a veteran from the Iraq War. Guest musician will be local folk singer, Lee Murdock. There will be a special seating section for veterans, who will be recognized during the program.
Following the program, there will be a parade to the cemetery for a rifle salute and decoration of the graves. Refreshments will be served at the Community Center upon return from the cemetery. Old flags, to be retired, will be collected for disposal by the American Legion.