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Clayton Hill

Jefferson City

Dear Editor:

Decoration Day (as my parents sometimes called it) is the last Monday in May. It alone is dedicated to service members killed while serving their country — the USA. Our family went to a cemetery to pay respect and place flowers on two graves — my grandfather's and my half-brother who died — way before I came along.

While that was an OK day to show respect, the emphasis was not placed on the true meaning. Now there is even less respect to those who died for their country. Barbecues, Memorial Day sales and picnics are a few side-show activities that steal from the primary purpose.

Armed Service Day recently passed; it honors those presently serving. Flag Day honors our Colors and presents opportunity to respectfully retire the worn and tattered flags; every day is a day to report to owners to repair or replace flags. Independence Day is just that; there is no need to reference or claim otherwise; nor is there reason to attribute any other day or year, such as 1619, or some other era as basis of our country's birth. History alone shows relevance to events that shaped the ultimate facts and timelines. Columbus Day is a holiday lately of question. If people would just recognize the historical event, able seamanship and bravery of those at the time explored this world. Regardless of the monarchies of the era, his, and other sailings, should truly be appreciated — much like present-day space travel.

Veterans Day honors all who honorably served. Its narrow definition was expanded recently to include those who retired but otherwise did not serve on active duty for at least 180 days. There are numerous others not classified as veterans who also deserve respect regardless of their length of service or location. Wars and military operations today are accomplished remotely overseas and here within the country or on ships, planes, islands and even space. So, please, do not degrade one's service based on assignments, as these for the most part, are not an individual's choice. A ceremonial guard at Arlington, a piccolo player in the band, an aircraft mechanic and an infantryman all are equal among us. There are medals and other forms of recognition to distinguish those service situations.

This Memorial Day, let us all put the emphasis back where it belongs and show respect for our history and our national holidays.

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