November 24, 2008 · Updated 7:19 PM
Monday, May 30, is Memorial Day. It is a day set aside to remember those who have died in the service of our country. It is a day to honor and remember our dead regardless of our convictions about the necessity or morality of any war.
Throughout the 229-year history of our nation, families and soldiers have sacrificed for our nation and for democracy.
The last Monday of May was originally called Decoration Day. Some sources say that women's groups of the South decorated the graves of Confederate soldiers even before the end of the Civil War. The practice was gradually adopted by northern states and spread throughout the nation.
Here on Mercer Island in the rapidly changing Town Center, we will dedicate a new memorial to honor heroes of war -- those still with us and those who did not return. The Mercer Island Arts Council and the city came together to design and construct a pergola embellished with the proud symbols of the five branches of United States military. The memorial will be formally dedicated at Mercerdale Park at 11 a.m., Monday, May 30. Organizers are encouraging citizens to come, bring a picnic lunch and stay to listen to music after the dedication ceremony.
It will be a memorial most Islanders will pass by daily -- a talisman to make us pause and remember why this community and this nation prosper.
On this day when cemeteries all over America are decorated with flowers and flags, veterans, old and young, will salute the graves of friends and fellow soldiers from wars both recent and past. It is a day for those who carry with them a special burden of sorrow, that of companions lost -- and knowledge of what could have been.
Especially on this 60th anniversary of the end of World War II and in the thick of yet another conflict across the sea, let us remember those -- soldiers and civilians, who have died in these conflicts.