Fecteau: Honor Our Fallen Heroes on Memorial Day
Monday, May 29, 2017
As a veteran myself, my hope is that we never lose sight of the true meaning of Memorial Day, and always remember that freedom isn’t necessarily free. While your friends and family should be a part of that experience, we shouldn’t ignore the men and women who valiantly gave their lives in defense of our country.
There is some confusion with Memorial Day, and other holidays and observed days. For example, Armed Forces Day is a day specifically dedicated for citizens to thank service members for their service. Veterans Day is a day that celebrates all veterans that served. Memorial Day is an annual monument to those that lost their lives while serving.
Memorial Day does have an interesting history. Memorial Day takes its roots mostly back to the American Civil War when it was first called Decoration Day. The Civil War, where 620,000 soldiers lost their lives, left a large gaping wound on our country, and perhaps the holiday was a way for collective healing. Grateful, yet somber Americans took the time to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers. This tradition continued until, finally, in 1971, Memorial Day became a recognized federal holiday.
So the question is: how will you commemorate Memorial Day? Will it just be another day off? Or will it be a day to take the time to remember our country’s best and brightest? In 2000, perhaps Congress perhaps realized Memorial Day was being watered down and took action. Congress established a National Moment of Remembrance on Memorial Day at 3:00 P.M. local time. During this time, all Americans are encouraged to pause for one minute to reflect on those that lost their lives.
While this brief pause is a very small commitment, I believe it is fitting. No matter where you are or what you are doing, I ask every American to take the time to briefly pause and remember the true meaning of Memorial Day with this simple gesture. I don’t think that is too much to ask especially for those who gave up so much for our freedom.
[email protected]) of Pawtucket, Rhode Island was a Democratic candidate for office in 2014 and 2016. He is a former White House national security intern and Iraq War veteran. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewFecteau
Related Slideshow: 25 Ways to Celebrate Veterans in New England - 2017
Operation Stand Down's Boots on the Ground Memorial
Operation Stand Down RI (OSDRI) will host the 2nd annual Boots on the Ground for Heroes Memorial this Memorial Day weekend from Friday, May 26 at 8 a.m. to Monday, May 29 at 2 p.m. Overall, OSDRI will place nearly 7,000 boots in the field by the Temple to Music at Roger Williams Park throughout the weekend.
On Sunday, May 28 there will be a Patriotic Concert by the RI National Guard 88th Army Band. The concert will begin at 6:30 p.m.
The event will honor all of Rhode Island's American heroes, who were killed in action defending the country during the war on terror, by marking their lives with a boot, flag, and name placard.
130th Memorial Day Observance Remembrance Ceremony
The ceremony will take place on Monday, May 29 at 9 a.m. at Hope Cemetery.
Following a short procession, a wreath-laying ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. at the Massachusetts Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Green Hill Park.
North Kingstown Wreath Laying and Parade
North Kingstown, RI
The North Kingstown Wreath laying ceremony will take place on Monday, May 29 at Civil War Memorial at North Kingstown Town Hall as well as at Veterans Memorial Park. The wreath laying ceremony will begin at 9 a.m.
Following the wreath-laying, there will be a Memorial Day parade at 10 a.m.
PHOTO: Presidio of Monterey/flickr
Garden of Flags in Boston
Every year, the Massachusetts Military Heroes organization plants a Garden of Flags, over 37,000 of them in front of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Boston Common.
The Charlestown Parade begins on Sunday, May 28 at 1 p.m. starting from the Cross Mills on Old Post Road and ending at Ninigret Park.
Once at the park, there will be ceremonies and a performance by the Wakefield Concert Band at 3 p.m.
Essex Junction Memorial Day Parade
The parade will take place on Saturday, May 27 starting at 10 a.m. It leaves out of Champlain Valley Exposition gate F and ends at the dispersal area on Pearl St.
Warwick Jewish Veterans Observance
The Warwick Jewish Veterans Observance will take place on Sunday, May 28 at 11 a.m. at the Lincoln Park Cemetery on Post Road.
Ellsworth Maine Memorial Day Parade
Beginning on Monday, May 29 at 10 a.m. local marching bands will play patriotic tunes, ride on colorful floats while dressed in red, white and blue.
The parade will follow School St. to Main St. before ending at City Hall.
Foster Parade and Wreath Laying
The Foster Memorial Day Parade and wreath laying will kick off at 8:45 a.m. on Monday, May 29 from the Foster Center and North roads and go to the Ben Eddy Building.
Following the parade, there will also be a speaking program and the unveiling of a monument that is dedicated to World War II veterans who were originally from Foster.
Seekonk Memorial Day Parade
The Seekonk Memorial Day Parade kicks off at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 27 from Seekonk High School and ends at Dr. Kevin Hurley Middle School.
After the parade, there will be hot dogs and hamburgers at American Legion Post # 311 on 351 Fall River Avenue.
PHOTO: Fleet W/flickr
Avenue of Flags at Pawtuxet Memorial Park in Warwick
The Avenue of Flags at Pawtuxet Memorial Park in Warwick consists of over 300 American flags lining the streets in the park.
Hours for the Avenue of Flags are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting on Saturday and ending on Monday.
It is FREE.
Memorial Day Service at Togus National Cemetery
Togus National Cemetery will host a traditional Memorial Day Service on Monday, May 29 beginning at 8 a.m.
The service will pay tribute to fallen soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines with a wreath laying ceremony and much more.
PHOTO: Togus National Cemetery/ nps.gov
Pawtucket Veterans' Council Ceremony
The Pawtucket Veterans' Council Ceremony will take place on Monday, May 29 at 11 a.m. at Veterans Memorial Park at Roosevelt Avenue and Exchange Street.
Events will be led by Capt. James Hollis, Commander Raymond Welch, Penny Trottier, Bob Balthazard, president of the Fleet Reserve, John Gallo, Maurice Trottier, Leo Courtois and Ted Gerrard. Commander Jack Lucas will act as emcee.
Leicester Memorial Day Parade
The Leicester Memorial Day Parade will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the Memorial School and continuing north on Pleasant Street to the Town Common where ceremonies will be held.
North Providence Parade
North Providence, RI
The North Providence Memorial Day Parade begins at 1 p.m. on Monday, May 29 starting at North Providence High School on Mineral Spring Avenue and ending at Governor John Notte Jr. Park.
The parade will be followed by a short ceremony and then food and entertainment in the park from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Battleship Cove Memorial Day Ceremony
Fall River, MA
Battleship Cove in Fall River will host an observance at noon on Monday, May 29 to honor and remember the men and women who dedicated and dedicate their lives to protecting the country.
The ceremony will consist of the raising of the flag from half-staff as well as a 21 gun salute.
The ceremony is FREE and open to the public.
Lincoln Memorial Day Parade
Lincoln's Memorial Day Parade begins at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 29 starting from Smithfield and Reservoir Avenues and ending at the Saylesville Fire District station.
In 1868, the United States government formally instituted Memorial Day as a national remembrance of the fallen soldiers from the Civil War of 1861-1865.
At Mystic Seaport, Decoration Day ceremonies are set in 1876. In the morning, visitors are invited to the Fishtown Chapel to witness the memorials laid for local Civil War soldiers.
At midday, all are welcome inside the Greenmanville Church for a brief service complete with sermon and hymns. A colour guard will lead everyone to the waterfront, where wreaths are laid for the artillery and the Navy.
In the afternoon, there will be a presentation by the musicians of the Museum’s Chantey Program illustrating the different roles of music on the home-front, in camp, and on the field – or sea – of battle during wartime.
Memorial Day Remembrance at Hubbardton Battle Field
At noon on Monday, May 29, battlefield flags will be raised to full-mast and tribute will be paid at the battle monument to the soldiers of Hubbardton.
The ceremony will go from 12 p.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Dudley Memorial Day Parade
The town of Dudley will host a Memorial Day parade on Monday, May 29 beginning at 10:30 a.m.
The parade will begin at the intersection of Route 12 and Worcester road and end at Webster’s Town Hall.
Manchester Memorial Day Parade
Manchester, New Hampshire
The Manchester Memorial Day Parade will begin at 2 p.m. starting at Webster Street on Monday, May 29.
The parade will conclude at 4:30 p.m. with a wreath-laying ceremony at Veterans Park.
Shrewsbury Memorial Day Parade
The Shrewsbury Memorial Day Parade will start at 9:30 a.m. on Monday from the Richard Carney Municipal Office Building and will make several stops along the way.
The parade stops at the Soldier's Statue in front of the Police Station on Maple Ave, the War Memorial at the Town Center and at the Veterans Lot at Mountain View Cemetery.
Following the parade, there will be a keynote address from retired Army Colonel John P. Collins (pictured).
Veterans Memorial Day Cruise
Celebrate Memorial Day on the water with this Memorial Day cruise on the Songo River Queen II.
Veterans or Active Duty Service men or women, and their immediate family get on for free.
The cruise goes from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Free Admission for Vets to Tower Hill Botanic Gardens
Tower Hill Botanic Garden is allowing veterans and military personnel in for free on Memorial Day with a valid military ID.
Up to five family members will receive 20 percent off their entry fee.
Visitors can enjoy the spring blooms of the gardens, hikes through the surrounding woodlands, the fully accessible Garden Within Reach, views of Mt. Wachusett, art exhibits, the Garden Shop, Twigs Cafe, the Wild Rumpus Stickwork Exhibit by internationally renowned artist Patrick Dougherty, and more.
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