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A Gold Star Mother remembers her son

Posted by on May. 30, 2016 at 8:43 AM
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A Gold Star Mother remembers the true meaning of Memorial Day

Jo Ann Maitland, Kathi Sandburg, Evelyn Depagnier, Michelle Dale, Sandy Miller, Kathi Bischoff, Karen Zook, Linda Schumann, Ginny Luther, and Lureen Conte PHOTOs and cover design by michael & Josephine Lee
 Karen Zook

Ask the average person on the street what Memorial Day is and you'll probably get a variety of responses.

Some of the answers may be something like: a three-day weekend; a day to honor veterans; a day to barbeque; a day to shop and take advantage of all the sales; the kick-off of summer; no more school; and the dreaded, it's just a day - it means nothing to me.

I can personally tell you that most likely you will regret saying any of that to a mother of an American Airman, Marine, Soldier, Sailor, or Coastguardsman whose life was lost while in service to our great nation.

Why? Because Memorial Day is her fallen son or daughter's holiday - the day we honor those whose lives were lost while in service to the United States.

Memorial Day is also often confused with Veterans Day. Currently, Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday in May. It is the day we set aside to remember and honor the men and women who gave their very life for the freedoms we all enjoy in a democratic society.

Veterans Day, celebrated each year on November 11, is the day we honor, acknowledge and thank all who have served in our armed forces.

Historically, Memorial Day was established as "Decoration Day," originating shortly after the end of the Civil War. It was a time set aside to decorate the grave sites of those who lost their lives in battle.

May 30 was initially chosen for Decoration Day because flowers would be in bloom all over the country, allowing all of the fallen from the Civil War to be paid tribute to with the choicest floral arrangements .

The name "Memorial Day" became more popular after World War II. In 1967, a federal law proclaimed Memorial Day the official name of the holiday.

In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Holiday Act, which moved four holidays from their original dates to a specific Monday in order to create convenient three-day weekends.

This year, Memorial Day happens to land on the original date of May 30.

For me, Memorial Day is the time to publicly honor the sacrifice of my son, United States Marine Corps Cpl. Ian T. Zook, killed in action in Iraq on Oct. 12, 2004.

You see, this treasured holiday lets me and my husband Mark know that our country remembers Ian and the many sons and daughters throughout history who also died while in the service to America. They must never be forgotten.

What can you do to commemorate our fallen? Well, you can recognize Memorial Day by going to your town's Memorial Day tribute or parade.

You can also go to your local cemetery and decorate a hero's grave site with flowers or the American flag.

Or, you can make an effort to greet and express your condolences to the family members of someone who died while in service to our nation.

Consider educating others as to what Memorial Day truly is and how we are to set aside this day to honor those who paid the ultimate price.

And, you can purpose to never, ever forget by always honoring our fallen.

In addition to celebrating Memorial Day, You are invited to Veteran's Memorial Park in Port St. Lucie on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 3 p.m., for "Gold Star Mother's and Family's Day," as we dedicate a monument to those who have laid down their lives for their country.

I am grateful that the Treasure Coast is home to many fellow Americans who honor our fallen by their dedication to make this new monument a reality.

Together, we can pay tribute to the sons and daughters forever in our hearts, never forgetting their great sacrifice.

by on May. 30, 2016 at 8:43 AM
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by Mom2boys on May. 30, 2016 at 8:20 PM
by Silver Member on May. 30, 2016 at 11:28 PM

Thank you for sharing the meaning of Memorial Day, and thank you for your family's sacrifice for the rest of us.

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