PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA

Opinion

Memorial Day

By From page A4 | May 23, 2014

Memorial Day traditionally marks the start of the summer vacation season. Nothing like a three-day weekend to bring out all the amateur drivers and keep the CHP busy with those who imbibed too much before heading back home.

Originally Memorial Day was called Decoration Day to honor those who died in the Civil War — both Union and Confederate soldiers. After the war concluded Civil War veterans staged joint encampments of reconciliation, the most prominent of which was the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg in 1913. It featured an address by President Woodrow Wilson. President Franklin Roosevelt addressed the 75th anniversary gathering at Gettysburg in 1938.

More Americans were killed in the Civil War than any other war — 625,000 total from both sides. By comparison 53,402 were killed in World War I, in World War II there were 291,557 killed, in the Korean War 33,686 were killed in action, 47,324 in Vietnam, 1,742 in Afghanistan and 5,281 in Iraq. The total Americans killed after the Civil War in major wars is 432,992.

Each year Boy Scouts place flags on the graves of veterans in Union Cemetery in Placerville for Memorial Day.

For those who wish to avoid the line of vehicles that clog the highway to Lake Tahoe and the crowded campgrounds, we invite you to join veterans of El Dorado County who will honor this county’s military who died in service of their country. A ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. Monday at the El Dorado County Veterans Monument on the east side of the County Government Center on Fair Lane.

That will be followed by a reception at the Smith Flat House from 1 to 3:30 p.m. with food and music for $5 that will be used to support veterans programs.

At 9 a.m. Monday, a Memorial Day military honor guard will conduct a ceremony at Green Valley Cemetery in Cameron Park at Bass Lake and Green Valley roads.

Or consider the pre-Civil War meaning of Memorial Day as a day for family reunions, pot luck picnics and placing flowers on the graves of relatives.

Our recommendation is to join veterans at one of the two ceremonies scheduled for Monday and honor those who gave their lives to protect our freedom. Our freedom is as precious as their sacrifice.

Mountain Democrat

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