Memorial Day More Than A Three-Day Weekend


To many, Memorial Day means one thing -- a three-day weekend.

For the Rim Country, it's the beginning of tourist season and a sudden reminder not to use the Beeline Highway until September.

It's a day to barbecue, relax and spend some quality time with the family.

But just like other holidays -- where the true meaning has been buried by distractions -- Memorial Day is losing itself to department store sales and trips to the grocery for hamburger buns.

Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day. It was a day set aside to visit the graves of veterans and to decorate those graves with flowers or flags.

The tradition started after the Civil War to recognize those who died, both from the North and the South. Though it was unofficially recognized for a century, Memorial Day wasn't officially declared a national holiday until 1971.

In the first week of January this year, the Payson Roundup published an editorial with our set of New Year's resolutions. Among them, we resolved that there would be more than a handful of residents in attendance at Memorial Day events.

It's time to fulfill that resolution.

The Payson Patriotic Events Committee has been hard at work putting together this year's slate of activities. The theme this year is "Payson Remembers." (In the interest of full disclosure, Bill Sahno of the Payson Patriotic Events Committee is on the Roundup editorial board.)

Activities began this morning with the decoration of veterans' graves at the Pioneer Cemetery. (See page 7A to learn more about the veterans who rest there.)

The weekend continues at 9 a.m. Sunday, with the Pioneer Cemetery Tribute in Payson, followed by the Mountain Meadows Tribute at 10 a.m. in the Mountain Meadows Cemetery in Round Valley.

On Monday morning at 8 a.m., there will be a flag-raising ceremony at the Mazatzal Casino flagpole. And, at 10 a.m., there will be a Memorial Day tribute at the Green Valley Park Veterans Memorial. This event is the culmination of the Patriotic Committee's hard work.

The event includes patriotic music, a posting of the colors, an address by Mayor Bob Edwards, a tribute by the Payson Honor Guard, a bagpipe rendition of "Amazing Grace," "Taps" and a moment of silent reflection to remember veterans past and present.

We encourage all readers to make it to one of these events this year.

As you read this, our country is involved in a war, and we are losing good people to that war.

Before you turn on the grills or begin that project in the garage this weekend, take a moment to reflect on the meaning of the holiday and on the lives that have been given so you can enjoy Memorial Day.

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