ELKINS – For a Memorial Day and the weekend before the holidays is the official kickoff of summer. A time to relax, fire up the grill and have an extra day off. But the true meaning of the cherished holiday remains and always will be a day to honor fallen soldiers, who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend the United States of America.
“For most people it’s another day to barbecue or whatever, but for a veteran it’s more important,” said Rick Hinchman, finance officer for the Elkins American Legion Post 29. “But most of us observe it as a day when we think about all the sacrifices veterans have made over the years.”
Station 29 will once again hold its annual Memorial Day celebration at the All-Veterans Memorial in Elkins at 11 a.m. Monday. The event will feature guest speakers, the laying of wreaths and other tributes.
“We will go out and put all the flags on Monday morning in preparation for the event,” said Hinchman. “Then, after the ceremony is over, we will have lunch for all the veterans.”
The Elkins American Legion will also be at Little Arlington Cemetery on Saturday to lay flags at veterans’ graves. Beverly’s Boy Scout Troop 66 will help Station 29.
“We will place the flags at the gravesites and then remove them the following Saturday,” he added. said Hinchman.
The Belington VFW, along with members of the American Legion, will also place flags at veterans’ graves this weekend. Flags will be laid at Belington Fraternal Cemetery Saturday morning beginning at 9 a.m.
There will also be a Memorial Day service in Barbour County at 1 p.m. Monday. The event will take place at the Fraternal Cemetery and will feature the American Legion Honor Guard performing taps and a gun salute. VFW and Auxiliary will lay a wreath for each war in remembrance of those killed in battle.
In Buckhannon, volunteers started hanging “March of Valor Banners” in Jawbone Park this week to honor veterans. Nearly 700 banners will be hung ahead of Monday’s Memorial Day service at Heavener Cemetery.
Memorial Day, which was originally known as Decoration Day, is a federal holiday to honor and mourn American military personnel who have died while serving in the armed forces. It is celebrated on the last Monday in May.