Our Opinion: On Memorial Day, take time to remember

News Tribune editorial

The Memorial Day celebration this year coincides with a national investigation of alleged misdeeds at Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals.

President Obama has expressed outrage, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki is in danger of losing his job and U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., plans to visit Missouri mental health facilities, including a VA hospital, next week.

Misconduct and negligence that has delayed treatment or compromised care is inexcusable. It must be eliminated swiftly and aggressively.

Just as our surviving military veterans deserve quality, comprehensive health care — both physical and mental — so the deceased veterans who served our nation merit our gratitude.

Memorial Day is a time to remember and honor those veterans, and attendance at local events is both appreciated and encouraged.

A Memorial Day program sponsored by the Jefferson City Veterans Council will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday at National Cemetery. The featured speaker will be Maj. Gen. (ret.) Henry W. Stratman. The program will include a two bell ceremony to honor and remember those veterans who have died.

Also on Monday, the Jefferson City Community Symphonic Band will play a Memorial Day concert from 1-3 pm. at First Christian Church, and Jefferson Bank’s Salute to Vets will be from 3-4:20 p.m. in the Capitol Rotunda.

The holiday traces its origins to 1865 and an observance called Decoration Day — a time to decorate the graves of Civil War soldiers.

In the nearly 150 years since the first observance, the holiday has taken on added connotations and associations.

Memorial Day weekend signals the traditional start of the summer vacation season and marks the opening of beaches and municipal swimming pools. It also serves as a time to enjoy parades, concerts and barbecues.

Many people will participate in recreational outings and activities.

And that’s fine. People deserve opportunities to relax, play and enjoy time with friends and family.

But our military veterans also deserve to be remembered for their service, contributions and sacrifices.

That is not too much to ask.

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