Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it was initiated to commemorate U.S. soldiers who died while in the military.
Memorial Day was first enacted as a ritual of remembrance and reconciliation to honor Union and Confederate soldiers after the Civil War. It was extended after World War I to honor Americans who died in all wars. Now, it has become a day of remembrance honoring all who served.
Memorial Day informally marks the start of the summer vacation season and Labor Day its end.
To those who have served our country, Memorial Day is most important as a day to remember and honor our fallen brothers and sisters. In addition, Memorial Day has become an occasion for more general expressions of memory, as people visit the graves of their deceased relatives and loved ones, whether they served in the military or not.
Memorial Day services in Durango will begin at 10 a.m. May 30 behind River City Hall, at Camino Del Rio and Veterans Way. This will be followed by ceremonies at the Veterans Memorial at Greenmount Cemetery and then Sea Services honors at the Ninth Street Bridge.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion in Durango will host open houses after the conclusion of the Memorial Day services. These celebrations are open to anyone who wishes to attend.
Memorial Day services also will be held in Ignacio at the Southern Ute Veterans Memorial Park off Colorado Highway 172. This ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. and will be conducted by the Southern Ute Veterans Association. There will be guest speakers from the Grand Junction VA Medical Center, Albuquerque VA Medical Center and the Denver VA Region Office. This ceremony will include a combination of military and tribal traditions. All are invited to join in honoring our military personnel and veterans.
Richard Schleeter is the veterans service officer for the La Plata County Veterans Service Office. He can be reached at 759-0117 or firstname.lastname@example.org.