Editor’s note: Inside this edition of your hometown newspaper is an American Flag you can proudly display in the window this Memorial weekend.
GREENE COUNTY — The last Monday of May each year may signal the unofficial start to the summer season, but its meaning is much richer than backyard barbecues and a long weekend.
Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, originated in the 19th Century following the Civil War.
According to former American Legion Dignam-Whitmore Post 526 Commander Chuck Knaub, the Grand Army of the Republic General Orders #1, dated the 30th of May 1868, commanded the following: “The 30th of May 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will, in their own way, arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.”
Knaub added that despite general orders, the tradition originated out of an act of decency. He wrote in a recent guest column to the Fairborn Daily Herald that in the late spring following the Civil War, citizens took it upon themselves to decorate the graves of individuals who paid the ultimate price with flowers.
By the 20th Century, the tradition began to include the remembrance of any deceased loved one, whether they had served or not. Memorial Day differs from Veterans Day, held on Nov. 11 each year. Memorial Day recognizes those who made the ultimate sacrifice whereas Veterans Day celebrates all veterans, living or deceased.
Knaub wrote in the guest column. “Honor the memory of our countrymen who gave their lives in service to our country … Also take time to reflect on and remember with reverence those friends and family that you love and that are no longer with you. Then enjoy the fruits of their labor, the freedom we now enjoy thanks to their sacrifice.”
According to Wikipedia, Memorial Day was held on May 30 from 1868 until 1970. However, Knaub added that the date Memorial Day will fall on each year has since been altered for the purposes of convenience. This year it falls on Monday, May 28 and a number of Greene County communities are hosting ceremonies to recognize its true meaning.
The Memorial Day Ceremony 2 p.m. Monday, May 28 at Veterans Memorial Park, 1911 North Fairfield Road. Brigadier General Gregory M. Gutterman, director, Air Force Security Assistance and Cooperation Directorate, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, is the guest speaker for the event. Parking is available on Fairwood Drive and at the Church of the Nazarene. Limited bleacher seating is available; lawn chairs are welcome.
Led by the the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6861 and the American Legion Dignam-Whitmore Post 526, Fairborn will recognized Memorial Day starting at 9 a.m. May 28 with services at Byron Cemetery, 3256 Trebein Road in Fairborn, with State Representative and veteran Rick Perales expected to speak.
A second ceremony will follow beginning at 11 a.m. at Fairfield Cemetery, 720 Clover St., in which Wright-Patterson Air Force Base 88th Communications Group commander Col. Lori Winn will speak.
Jamestown will host its Memorial Day services 10:30 a.m. Monday, May 28 at the old cemetery on the edge of town. The American Legion Post 155 will host the event along with Cody Myers leading the service. There is no parade.
Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.