By Scott Armstrong, Pacific Division Service to Armed Forces Director

  • Sent last minute e-mail about the picnic plans Monday? Check?
  • Burgers and condiments in the cooler? Check!
  • Fresh lighter fluid? Check!
  • Sun lotion? Check!
  • Bocce ball? Check! Checked WSDOT website for worst traffic times on I-90/I-5? Check!
  • Confirm festival start time? Check!

Really, that’s all? But what about Memorial Day?

Stop. Think. Since America’s founding 1,127,551 of our brothers and sisters have given their life serving our country in wars, with 65,578 lives lost in Vietnam and after.

Stop. Think. That means many of your fellow Red Crossers, friends, relatives, neighbors have been personally affected. Who?

Stop. Think. Although Memorial Day is a Federal Holiday, it is not to be celebrated. It is to be observed.

In fact, the “National Moment of Remembrance Act” designates 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day each year as the National Moment of Remembrance to honor our war dead. Stop. Think. How will you, and those with you Monday, honor and remember them? There are many opportunities …

  • Observe the National Moment of Remembrance, wherever you are! Take the opportunity to share the significance with those you are with. Set your phone reminder now!
  • Visit a Veteran’s Administration National Cemetery or WA State Cemetery with a few roses to lay on the tombstones. Personally powerful and equally impactful for your family and friends.
  • Attend a Memorial Day service at your local military installation, usually in a chapel or at the cemetery. Usually public access is allowed for special events with proper ID. Check social media sites for events.
  • Attend a Memorial Day parade.
  • Attend the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park Opening Monday at the Museum of Flight featuring a massive B-52G Stratofortress and a memorial statue and tribute wall. The opening ceremony will include aircraft fly-overs, a color guard presentation, and a special pinning ceremony for Vietnam veterans.

And, remember, don’t politely, and well-meaning, say “Happy Memorial Day”. Inappropriate. It is a day for solemn observance. By all means, enjoy your Memorial Day wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, but please … Stop. Think. Honor.

“The willingness of America’s veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude.”

Jeff Miller

Sleeves Up, Heart Open, All In!

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