Started after the Civil War and first known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day is the one day we set aside to honor and remember soldiers who have fallen in service to our country.

Over the years the true purpose of Memorial Day has faded. Many of us think of it as just another three-day weekend or the start of the summer barbecue season. Parades are sparsely attended and proper flag etiquette is forgotten.

Some people mistakenly think the day is for honoring anyone who died and some think it is a day to honor all veterans, and not exclusively those fallen in service to our country. While we should respect all veterans always, Memorial Day is set aside specifically for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

In 2000 the National Moment of Remembrance resolution was passed to help re-educate people of the true meaning of Memorial Day and asks that at 3 p.m., all Americans pause for a moment of silence to remember those who gave all.

This Memorial Day, let's all take a step back and remember its true meaning. There are few of us whose family or friends have not been touched by the tragedy of war, and we all have benefited from the sacrifices our soldiers make every day. It takes very little effort to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Thomas Crist, Melville

With the air show at Jones Beach, Memorial Day has become a day of celebrating the opening of public beaches and pools and the glorification of weapons of war. The armed services bring out their "big weapons" to parade before the public. The air is filled with soaring planes, dipping and diving for the public's entertainment.

More than 100 years ago, Memorial Day was set aside as a solemn day of mourning -- a sacred day of remembrance to honor those who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms. We need to return the true meaning of the day.

Hold the air show on another day. How about Armed Forces Day, the third Saturday of May?

Mary Cunneen, Islip

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