Remembering the nation’s dead

Aubrey Woods | The Tribune

Monday is the annual observance of Memorial Day.

It is time set aside for the remembrance of the men and women who have died in the service of their country, particularly in battle or from wounds suffered in battle.

Yes, the three-day weekend gives many of us the chance to take our first extended outing of the warm season or to gather with family and friends for a cookout while social distancing.

But let’s not forget the real reason that we’ve been celebrating Memorial Day since May 1868 (back then, it was called Decoration Day).

It really doesn’t matter what you call it, but the day began as a time when people, especially in the south, visited cemeteries to decorate the graves of those who have given their lives during the Civil War. It later grew to encompass the dead from all wars.

In Jackson County, that includes the nearly 140 people who have died in the service of their country in war times since World War I.

The list of dead includes Pvt. Robert S. Casebolt of Vallonia, who was severely wounded on Oct. 16, 1918, and later died during World War I; Pfc. Donald Fleetwood of Norman, who was killed in action October 1944 in Italy during World War II; Cpl. Floyd N. Acton of Cortland, who was reported missing in action May 17, 1951, during the Korean War; and Pfc. Kenneth Merle Branaman, of Seymour, who was killed by enemy machine gun fire while engaged in a search-and-destroy operation July 19, 1966, near Cu Chi during the Vietnam War.

Traditionally, many cities and towns had parades on Memorial Day as a way of remembering the sacrifices of so many Americans. Most of those parades have fallen by the wayside, although many veterans groups still set aside time on Memorial Day to remember the fallen. That’s good.

A Memorial Day service is planned for 11 a.m. Monday at the American Legion Post 89 Annex, 402 W. Second St., Seymour.

If you can’t attend this service, find a few minutes over this busy weekend to pause and remember those who paid the ultimate price for the freedom of us all.

Send comments to [email protected].