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Commemorating Memorial Day

Memorial Day, called Decoration Day before the 1960’s, is a federal holiday in the United States for honoring and mourning the military personnel who have died in the performance of their military duties while serving in the United States Armed Forces (Wikipedia).

My family has served in nearly every war this nation has fought. Most of the time, our soldiers and sailors returned home. Memorial Day gives me a day to honor those who did not.

I know of just two family members who died in the course of their military duties:

  1. Jas Robert Boyd (ca. 1845-1862) died from wounds received in the Civil War battle of Fort Donelson at Dover, Tennessee.
  2. George Riley Boyd (ca. 1843-1863) died a year later in the Vicksburg (Mississippi) campaign.

These brothers were Union soldiers. They were also my great-grandfather’s first cousins.

I think it is important that we continue this tradition of remembering our war dead.

I live far away from where the Boyds are buried and cannot visit their graves on Memorial Day. Instead, this weekend I will go to Fort Logan National Cemetery in Colorado and decorate the graves of family members who are buried there.

I can also attend a Memorial Day service in my community. The local American Legion and VFW posts hold these in several locations—the town cemetery, the WWII memorial, and the veterans monument.

Because of the Covid-19 virus, we did not have this opportunity last year. This year we again have a solemn occasion available for remembering people like the Boyds who gave up so much for their country. I plan to go.

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