Posted: May 30, 2011 6:14 PM by Matt Stafford
Updated: May 30, 2011 6:22 PM
Memorial Day is a day for Americans to honor and remember all of the men and women in uniform who have sacrificed, and are still making sacrifices around the world.
"When you look at the fact that somebody has not made it back it doesn't make any difference what war, what conflict," says Henry Reisig, with the Retired Enlisted Association. That's why he says that at their Memorial Day service they mark all of the fallen and missing with a single empty seat; they think about the sacrifice that was made.
"There's no greater thing anybody can do, than to serve their country and serve their God," says Harry King, representing the 82nd Airborne Division Association.
King and Les Curtiss represented the 82nd at Monday's service; to them, Memorial Day is important to honor the people they served with, but they also want to show strong support for those serving today.
"We don't have too many of them here yet, but they'll be joining I think as the years go by," says Curtiss.
"I thank them for their service to our country, because it's a brotherhood that we all belong to," King adds.
Whether those men and women died or went missing five years ago or 50 years ago, it feels just the same.
"They're all part of our hearts, they're part of our association of the U.S. military, and the Canadians," says Reisig. "They're still missing and we still have to revere their memory until they come back."
Memorial Day was officially made a national holiday by Congress 40 years ago, in 1971; however its roots stretch all the way back to the Civil War, when people were decorating the graves of fallen soldiers. According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, they called it Decoration Day. May was selected because that's when flowers are typically blooming and looking their best.