Col. Marne Sutten | Garrison Commander
Memorial Day is a day we remember and honor America’s fallen warriors — courageous men and women who gave their lives during military service.
Gen. John Logan issued General Order No. 11 on May 5, 1868, officially establishing Decoration Day. On that first day of remembrance, flowers decorated the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers to memorialize their sacrifice for our nation. Americans have continued this tradition every year since, and in 1971 President Richard Nixon declared Memorial Day as a national holiday.
This weekend we express our deepest appreciation to the men and women in uniform who gave what President Abraham Lincoln called “their last full measure of devotion” so that this nation might be free. We honor their memory, and hope for the lasting peace for which they laid down their lives. We also mourn with the families and friends of those whom we have lost, and we hope they find comfort in knowing their loved ones died for a cause greater than themselves. With their sacrifice, they reinforced and strengthened the principles of freedom and liberty upon which our nation is founded.
We honor the selfless acts of the brave men and women who thought themselves ordinary, but rose to meet seemingly impossible expectations to keep hope alive, not just in America, but around the world. They were real people — sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, wives and husbands. They were strong and vibrant, and they are missed.
Today we must reflect and renew our commitment to live our own lives as fully as possible, and to always be willing and able to give back to our families, our communities, and our nation. Through our own selfless acts we will honor them, and their legacy will live on.
If you are in the area this weekend, please consider attending a Memorial Day observance on Monday, May 28. In the city of Leavenworth, an observance will begin at 9 a.m. at the Leavenworth National Cemetery. On post, an observance will begin at 11:40 a.m. at the Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery.
A number of events are planned in and around the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Mo. At 10 a.m. on Memorial Day there will be a free public ceremony. Admission to the museum is free for veterans and active-duty military personnel, and throughout the weekend from May 25-28 admission for the general public is half-price. To learn more, visit www.theworldwar.org.
Because Memorial Day also marks the start of summer season activities, we must also ensure a safe and enjoyable weekend. Although we cannot eliminate all of the hazards associated with this time of year, we can minimize their effects, ensuring risk management is integrated into all that we do. Whether taking a long trip, barbecuing, participating in recreational activities, or performing chores around your home, make sure to include safety measures in your activities. Let’s all do our part to make this a safe and enjoyable holiday!