To many Americans, Memorial Day has lost its meaning

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On this Memorial Day we give thanks to the fearless men and women who have served in our military to protect the freedoms that we too often take for granted. Along the way, they have helped to forge a nation that remains the world's greatest economic, military, and political force. We have many who are serving who don't know if they're appreciated.

We're thankful for your support in every way. It shouldn't. In World War II, some 61 percent of USA military personnel were drafted. Various other conflicts have tested our national resolve and extracted a heavy price. Citizens are asked to pause for a moment of silence to reflect on those for whom Memorial Day was intended - the service men and women who died in battle defending liberty.

The commemoration is "a 13-year program to honor and give thanks to a generation of proud Americans who saw our country through one of the most challenging missions we have ever faced". Veterans Day, however, celebrates anyone who's ever served honorably.

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The meaning of patriotism often is questioned these days.

According to historical accounts, in an expression of gratitude to those who died fighting against slavery, the freed slaves exhumed the bodies of more than 250 Union soldiers from a mass grave at a Confederate prison camp in Charleston, South Carolina, and gave them a proper burial. "We have, and enjoy, a large military presence here".

The tradition of honoring fallen soldiers is an ancient one, and it came to be commonplace in the United States in the wake of the Civil War.

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The Holt Memorial Day Parade begins at 2 p.m., marches through Holt and ends at the Veterans Memorial Gardens, located behind the library. In May of 1868 a nationwide day of remembrance was called for by a leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, General John A. Logan.

There is some truth in this.

Last Thursday - and each Thursday immediately before Memorial Day since the 1950s - the soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, which is known more famously as "The Old Guard" or "Escort to the President" - place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. The La Plata County Historical Society's recent publication, History La Plata, is devoted to World War I's local impact.

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