Formerly known as Decoration Day, on Monday, May 27, our country will celebrate what is now Memorial Day, a day set aside to honor those who have died in service to our country.
It was called Decoration Day because people would traditionally place small flags at the graves of those being remembered, and the American flag would be flown at half-mast from dawn until noon. The origin of the day was to honor Union soldiers from the Civil War. After World War I it was changed to honor all who had died in military action.
A change was made in the date of Memorial Day, which had previously been celebrated on May 30 no matter what the day of the week. When Congress passed the Uniform Holiday Bill in 1968 and federal holidays created three-day weekends it was established that Memorial Day would be on the last Monday in May.
Riverside, along with many municipalities, recognizes the day with a ceremony. In Riverside the site is in Guthrie Park, across the street from the library. What could be looked at as a small-town event it has grown to become a ceremony that draws not only those who are past or present members of the military or those who have lost family and friends in service to our country, but those who want to be on hand to pay homage to those people.
It is a ceremony that veterans of all ages will attend and wear with pride something that will indicate their branch of service.
The local American Legion and Tom Sisulak of Riverside have been planning the ceremony, which will enlist the help of local Boy and Girl Scout troops. The raising of the flag is a poignant moment as all take time to think about those who gave their lives that we may enjoy the freedoms we have. Sisulak will also introduce and honor longtime Riverside resident Don Farnham, a Marine veteran of World War II.
You may want to take the time to look at the boulders placed around the park which honor those who died from Riverside during different wars and battles.
Many people view Memorial Day weekend as the beginning of the summer season and when you can begin wearing white, but remember what the day really means and celebrate it. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m.