By Gerald Perry
Memorial Day – a day set aside by Congress back in 1868 to honor the Civil War dead, The original title of the day was Decoration Day and some time later it was changed to Memorial Day.
After World War II, the intent of the day was adjusted to honor all the deceased in all wars. In 1971 the National Holiday Act was passed by Congress ensuring this to be a three-day federal holiday weekend.
This year, on May 19, the city of Riverview and Riverview American Legion Post 389 conducted a ceremony honoring all war dead, but specifically Riverivew’s 17 fallen soldiers – those heroes who died fighting for the freedoms which we enjoy today.
It turned out to be a beautiful day with temperatures in the 70s and with very few clouds in the sky. The ceremony was held at Young Patriots Park, in an equally beautiful setting, with over 300 U.S. flags surrounding the reflection pond. Each flag represented veterans who served our country.
One flag represented a person by the last name of Vreeland, who served in 1868. There were few representing those who served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam and those who served in the Gulf wars or are still in service.
The Riverview Police Honor Guard was there and the color guard carried the U.S flag, the state of Michigan flag, the city of Riverview flag, The POW-MIA flag and the American Legion flag. The Riverview Fire Department also attended.
There were speakers, like Mike Ceaser, who did a fine job commemorating the occasion and the ceremony also included Riverview’s own motorcycle version of “Rolling Thunder.” There was the Riverview band joining a bagpipe player in a rendition of Amazing grace. It was a beautiful ceremony.
Yet today we still have thousands of soldiers missing. We have veterans standing on street corners holding signs read, “Will work for food,” or just plain “hungry.” Some are afraid to get help at the local VA hospital, either from PTSD or affects of Agent Orange or because of past poor care.
How can we, in good conscience, all this to happen?
Today we still have troops on foreign countries fighting wars for those unable to defend themselves. These U.S. troops are returning home also suffering the residual effects of war.
When will this end?
God bless us all and God bless America.