All over Liberty County — and most of the country, for that matter — folks are striking up grills for backyard barbecues, hitting stores for holiday sales and reveling in the fact that they don’t have to go to work Monday.
Aside from being a reason to uncover and clean up the grill or go out and buy a new set of kitchen appliances, Memorial Day also serves as the unofficial start of the summer season. Schools are out, the temperatures are high and the days are long — it is indeed a good feeling.
But let’s not forget the real reason for this lovely three-day break: the many lives that have been lost protecting this country and the freedoms that so often are taken for granted. Memorial Day is a time to do just what the name suggests — memorialize.
Between the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, Vietnam, Korea, World War I and II, the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and countless other conflicts, men and women have been laying their lives on the line so others wouldn’t have to. And that certainly deserves our respect.
A number of events are planned for this weekend for area residents who want to publicly honor those who have fallen in war.
Survivor Outreach Services will hold a candlelight vigil at 8 p.m. tonight to honor and remember fallen soldiers. The ceremony will be on Fort Stewart’s Cottrell Field.
On Monday, 3rd ID Commander Maj. Gen. Robert Abrams is the featured speaker for the annual Fred L. Ginter American Legion Post 168 Memorial Day Ceremony, which begins at 11 a.m. Monday at the post home on West Highway 84 in Hinesville. The 3rd ID Band Jazz Ensemble, local high-school ROTC honor guards and two buglers also will participate. For more information, call 876-0168.
And there’s also plenty happening in surrounding areas, including the annual Savannah Vietnam Veterans Association Candlelight Memorial Day Ceremony. A firing party from the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade and the 3rd ID Band also will participate.
The 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd ID will provide a firing party and fallen-soldier memorial for the annual Sun City Memorial Day Ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday at Sun City in Hilton Head, S.C.
3rd Brigade Support Battalion, 1st HBCT, 3rd ID Commander Lt. Col. Miles Townsend will speak at the annual Ladies Auxiliary of the VFW Post 3563 Memorial Day Observance at 3 p.m. Monday at Southeastern Technical College in Vidalia. The 3rd ID band and the 3rd BSB color guard also will participate.
Richmond Hill will hold its annual Memorial Day observance at 11 a.m. Monday at the Veterans Monument in J.F. Gregory Park. The ceremony will include posting of the colors by the Fort Stewart Color Guard and various speakers, including Paul Spence with Vietnam Veterans of America, Bill Helms with American Legion, Ana Parodi with Veterans of Foreign Wars and Col. Roger Cloutier, chief of staff with the 3rd Infantry Division.
Whether you choose to celebrate this Memorial Day at a public ceremony or with friends in the comfort of your backyard, be sure to take a moment — if not two or three — to say thanks to those who are no longer with us.