Memorial Day more than just a holiday
By Ivy Vogel
Post Independent Staff
Michelle Pizzelli doesn’t spend Memorial Day camping or barbecuing – she spends it honoring her father, uncles, husband and all the others who served in the U.S. military.
With one hand on top of her son’s head and the other around the waist of her husband, John, Pizzelli watched members of American Legion Garfield Post 83 fire a salute to the dead in Rosebud Cemetery Monday morning.
The salute to the dead ended the ceremony, which more than 100 people from around Garfield County attended. Mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers celebrated friends and relatives lost in World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam and the current war in Iraq.
Pizzelli has always been cognizant of Memorial Day because she’s from a military family, but this year the celebration has new meaning.
“This year is different from all other Memorial Days because my husband is in uniform,” Pizzelli said.
John joined the National Guard a yearago and was in uniform at the ceremony.
“There should be more recognition of this holiday,” Pizzelli said. “People use the day to go camping and don’t know how much disrespect it shows.”
Part of the reason many people don’t think of Memorial Day as anything more than a three-day weekend, is because they don’t understand the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day, Pizzelli said.
Veterans Day, Nov. 11, was dedicated in 1926 as a tribute to the end of World War 1. It is a time for Americans to celebrate those who lost their lives in wars, Pizzelli said.
Memorial Day, the last Monday in May, was founded in 1868. Originally called Decoration Day because families decorated soldiers’ graves with flags and flowers, Memorial Day is a time for Americans to celebrate soldiers who continue to fight for freedom, Pizzelli said.
“When you’re serving your country, you’re serving everyone,” Pizzelli said. “You serve yourself, your grandchildren and even your grandfather.”
Bill Price, commander of Post 83 and veteran of the Korean War, said it’s important for soldiers to know that everyone is behind them – no matter where they go.
“They should know that there are a lot of people standing behind them and protecting them,” said American Legion member Jerry Oip, a Vietnam veteran. “We want them to come home to a better place, too.”
Contact Ivy Vogel: 945-8515 ext. 534
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