I am writing today about Memorial Day. But unfortunately, before I can even begin to talk about honoring the people who sacrificed for their country, I must talk about the annual May Day destruction. Have we really allowed anarchy to become an accepted annual event? Not in my town. Enough is enough!
May 1st has always been a celebration of spring, a day to enjoy the beginning of a new season, a day for Girl Scouts and others to leave flowers on neighbors’ and friends’ doors.
May Day was not a day set aside for angry people to protest any and everything, run rampant in the streets, to riot and destroy public and private property, and interrupt the peace of the Olympia community.
I, along with many fellow Olympians, am tired of the masked mobs who smash windows, close businesses, and use sling shots to hurl marbles, rocks, and other projectiles at our police officers. Enough is enough.
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Gov. Inslee, this is the capital city of the state of Washington and Olympia is your community; you live here too. It is time to quell this annual anarchy and if need be, call out the Washington State Patrol, and the National Guard, whatever it takes to stop this insanity. It is not right, it is not fair and many citizens of this city are put in jeopardy every year.
Now to Memorial Day. I am a proud American. It has nothing to do with politics; it has every thing to do with the fact that I live in a free country with democratic principles, with the right for every citizen to express their opinions and live freely to pursue the individual happiness we each seek.
I proudly fly the American flag, not just on holidays but every day. May 29, 2017 Memorial Day, is a holiday of remembrance. A day to celebrate not just with hamburgers, hot dogs and beer, but by remembering to honor all Americans who have fought for our freedom, our rights (including peaceful protests), our country.
By an act of Congress in December 2000, the “National Moment of Remembrance” called on every American, at 3 p.m., “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence, or listening to Taps”. Set your clocks so that you and your families, and all of us together, remember to reflect on our people who have gone before us, and honor the many who have gone before us.
A few interesting facts about Memorial Day: Memorial Day was originally called “Decoration Day”, and is a patriotic holiday. The first Memorial Day happened in 1866, to honor the more than 620,000 casualties from the Civil War. Memorial Day became a formal National holiday in 1971. Small American flags were placed on each grave, a tradition that is still followed today at many national cemeteries. Now, many families also take this day to decorate the graves of all their departed loved ones, as well as soldiers. In 1922, the VFW became the official organization to sell poppies made by disabled veterans, to support veterans, and this practice continues today.
So, buy a poppy this Memorial Day. And wear it with pride and to honor those who have fought to keep our country free and safe. Say “hello and thank you” to a service-man or woman in uniform, and salute our veterans whose hats remind us all we walk the streets of America because of them. As one recent president at Arlington Cemetery so eloquently put it, “Each simple stone marker… signifies the cost of our blessings. It is a debt we can never fully repay, but it is a debt we will never stop trying to fully repay. By remaining a nation worthy of their sacrifice.”
Sadly, today we are a country divided, embroiled in differences and controversies. But this Memorial Day we can all stand united, together for this one moment, at 3 p.m. on May 29, with one clear truth in common; we are all Americans. Enjoy your holiday.
Susan Ritter is a semiretired business owner and a member of the Olympian Board of Contributors.