Say thanks to volunteers

For many people, the weekend around Memorial Day has become a busy time filled with distractions. With vacations, shopping, family gatherings and barbecues now commonplace at the start of the summer season, it can be easy to lose focus on what the holiday is all about.

Fortunately, there are many people – often volunteers – who take the time to organize local events and efforts to recognize the servicemen and women who gave their lives fighting for and supporting our great nation.

Among the volunteers are those who decorate the graves of veterans and try to make sure they are presentable. Not every cemetery can afford a staff that takes the time to give the veterans’ grave markers – some more than 100 years old – the attention they deserve.

Some volunteers have fixed up graves belonging to soldiers who served as far back as the Revolutionary War.

The Memorial Day holiday actually began after the Civil War as Decoration Day in 1868. However, it was not until after World War I that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The passage of time does not diminish the extraordinary sacrifice a soldier makes when he or she dies for this country.

Today, when you remember those who died for our freedoms, also think about those who are working to make sure our nation’s greatest heroes are remembered.

The next time you see a volunteer placing a flag at a veteran’s grave or fixing an eternal resting place, consider saying thank you. Better yet, see if you can lend a hand.