Columns

AS I SEE IT: Memorial Day: Fallen soldiers did the ultimate sacrifice for our country

Yes, my fellow countrymen, let us set aside this day, Memorial Day, to honor our military personnel who did the “ultimate sacrifice” for our country.

As we remember and honor those fallen soldiers this Memorial Day, we are bringing back to life their patriotic and heroic contributions to our beloved country. They gave their lives fighting in the name of freedom! Let’s remember them!

Let us pay our respects to our fallen and retired heroes during the annual Memorial Day Ceremony happening May 29 at Veterans Park beginning at 11 AM. Thank you to the City of Big Bear Lake and the American Legion of Big Bear Lake for making this special event possible.

I learned that the event is free for all attendees. Stay after the ceremony for a celebration with free hamburgers, hot dogs, brats, and fries. A special giveaway raffle will be included, tickets are $10.

Memorial Day began under the name “Decoration Day” in 1868 — three years after the Civil War ended — and was declared a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers and otherwise honor those who died while serving in the U.S. military, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

So, Memorial Day is a day for us to remember those who died in battle, those brave warriors who gave their lives in defense of our country, and also those who were wounded as a result in battle.

By the way, let’s not confuse ourselves with Memorial Day, which we are celebrating in the month of May, with that of Veterans Day, which we are celebrating in November. On Memorial Day, we honor those who have fallen and wounded in battle while on Veterans Day, we honor all who have served in the military, which according to the legislation on June 1, 1954, were leveled as “American veterans of all wars.” Their legacy will be remembered that will endure and last forever!

As a gesture of remembering and honoring our fallen soldiers, Americans must thank a veteran on Memorial Day… and beyond. We must thank them for all they have done to protect our country and our freedom. For those who didn’t know a veteran, you may write a letter to a veteran or a soldier expressing your gratitude and sentiments on Memorial Day.

There are a lot of ways to celebrate and honor them. In addition to the traditional BBQs and picnics, people attended a parade or watched the parade in television; some residents decorated the graves of the fallen soldiers on Memorial Day with flags and elaborated on the red, white and blue colors. They even brought that tradition home and decorated their houses and lawns with the stars and stripes. For those who have their flagpoles, they raised their flags at half-mast from dawn until noon local time in reverence to our dead heroes.

In the article written by Jenae Sitzes and Jennifer Aldrich, there are a lot of things, a variety of activities, we can do on Memorial Day 2023, in addition to what were already mentioned. They wrote, “if the skies are clear and the weather is warm, we can fill up that inflatable pool in the backyard and cool off our feet.

If the weather sours, we can gather indoors for a patriotic craft or pop the popcorn and indulge in a great summer movie. No matter how you choose to commemorate the day, this list of Memorial Day activities has options for the whole family—and for indoor celebrations as well.”

As to going to a parade, if there’s not one happening near you, tune in to watch   the National Memorial Day Parade along Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C., on Monday, May 29, at 2:00PM ET.

You can also tune the National Memorial Day concert, airing Sunday, May 28, at 8:00 PM EST on PBS. The National Memorial Day Concert is a moving tribute that honors America’s servicemen and women. Past celebrity performers have included Mickey Guyton, Sara Bareilles, Vince Gill, and Alan Jackson.

Or, take a virtual tour of the White House. Kids will love exploring the historic rooms and fascinating history of The White House via this online tour, created by the The White House Historical Association.

We can also create a sidewalk mural where Kids of all ages (even preschoolers) can get in on the fun of creating a giant sidewalk chalk mural of a flag. Passersby will adore this creative approach to commemorating Memorial Day.

Of course, we can always offer a moment of silence. With all the hustle and bustle of a long weekend, it’s easy to forget to pause and think about what Memorial Day is really about. Simply take a moment or two with your family to remember those who have served.

We can send a care package, to honor the heroes of the past, to an active duty service member. According to the Support Our Troops website, $25 credit card gift cards (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, etc.) are the most requested item because they’re used to buy wifi.

Decorate your house… twirl up your house with patriotic decor and other red, white, and blue decorations that are cute and inexpensive to show your appreciation for the people who have served our country.

Or, do a patriotic act if you’ve got the creative itch. Get the family together for a patriotic craft! A baseball-themed front door wreath will carry you right into summer.

Maybe you can camp out in your backyard.  From pitching a tent to making popcorn over a fire, these backyard camping ideas will make you feel like you’re in the great outdoors.

You can also set up a drinks and snacks station. If your Memorial Day includes a laid-back day playing in the yard, set up a drinks and snacks station so everyone can serve themselves. Save the fabric pinwheels and garland made of paper drinking straws for the 4th of July!

You can watch a movie outside. The backyard is the new drive-in. Pick one of these best classic kids’ movies for a movie night under the stars.

Plan a backyard barbecue. A backyard grilling session featuring these Memorial Day recipes for your weekend barbecue is an ideal—and all-American—way to usher in summer.

 

Pay respects at the cemetery. Not everyone can pay their respects at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day weekend, but there are many national cemeteries across the country where you can place American flags on the resting places of fallen soldiers.

Go berry picking. Sweet strawberries and blueberries will be in season around Memorial Day, so find the nearest farm for berry picking and get some fresh ingredients for your next summer dessert.

Finally, you can visit a national park. It’s absolutely beautiful outside, and it’s even better when you’re soaking up the warm weather at one of our America’s most beautiful national parks. Before visiting, check the park website for updates on operating status.

In Milpitas, Memorial Day Ceremony will be held in the Milpitas Recreation and Community Services on May 29 at 9 a.m. to honor veterans and current members of the U.S. Armed Forces. The ceremony includes the presentation of colors by the Knights of Columbus, a 21-gun salute and a remembrance chair.

The event will be held rain or shine at 9 a.m. at Milpitas Veterans Plaza, 455 E. Calaveras Blvd.

At this time, I can’t prevent myself from remembering the contributions of our fallen relative-soldiers led by the late Gen. Sergio Estioko; the late Col. Eliodoro Estioko; the late Col. Gabriel Estioko; the late Lt. Jose Estioko (Philippine Army); the late Sgt. Ising Estioko (US Army).

Through our recollections, they have risen to remind us of their major contributions to our country in particular, and to humanity, in general!

We honor them… They deserve our highest recognition and respect for risking their lives for a cause!

(Elpidio R. Estioko was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and an award-winning journalist here in the US. His book Unlocking the Chain of Poverty: In Pursuit of the American Dream is now available with Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Xlibris Publishing. For feedbacks, comments, email author at estiokoelpidio@gmail.com).