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Americans honor sacrifice on this holiday

Posted May 30, 2011

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— All across the nation, Americans paused Monday to mark the memory of those who died fighting to our freedom. Hundreds gathered at the All-Veterans Memorial on the grounds of the state capitol in Raleigh Monday morning for a wreath-laying, patriotic music and speeches. Metals and memories Memorial Day 2011

Memorial Day, for many so closely tied to the beginning of the summer vacation season, is in fact a somber holiday. It began after the Civil War in the South as Decoration Day, when local communities would honor their war dead. After World War I, it was renamed, and became a national holiday. President Bill Clinton, in an effort to restore some of the original meaning to a day marked by picnics and swimming pools, asked in 2000 for a "National Moment of Remembrance" at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day when all Americans should "remember and reflect on the sacrifices made by so many to provide freedom for all."

The meaning of the day is especially close to home in Fayetteville, a military community which has sent thousands of men and women into battle. More than 500 from Fort Bragg have died in service since 2001. The city celebrates for the entire month of May – 31 Days of Glory.

Ed Middleton, a survivor of the Battle of Bulge, was among the veterans laying wreaths Monday in honor of those who did not make it back.   

Field of flags honors war dead in Fayetteville Field of flags honors war dead in Fayetteville

At Fort Bragg, the Special Forces Association honored six special forces soldiers killed in action in the past year and more than 100 association members who died during the course of the year with a ceremony at Special Ops Plaza.

"Memorial Day to me symbolizes what every American who has died for this country has done to help promote the freedoms that I have learned to grow up with and respect and have," said Marine Bruce Rakfeldt.

In Raleigh's Summerfield North neighborhood, sports mascots from the Durham Bulls, Mudcats and North Carolina State University Wolfpack were expected at the annual Memorial Day parade.

At Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, Wake County Schools Superintendent Tony Tata will be the featured speaker at a 4 p.m. ceremony. Tata is a retired brigadier general.


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  • robjustrob May 30, 2011

    Not to digress or anything... I mean, I have those of my family and their forefathers as well whose service and ultimate sacrifices I reflect upon today, too. But tell me - why aren't we together on this: is it only the fed, the fed and the state or what that recognize this as a real holiday? We're all calling it a holiday, right? So why are there those businesses and industries that generously give us the day off and those that refuse to? How does Labor Day rate over Memorial Day anyhow? Somebody explain the difference between the Fourth of July and Memorial Day for me, okay? Are we still waiting for an act of Congress to give this day official recognition? Enlighten me. Thank you.

  • Skywatch_NC May 30, 2011

    I have a cousin from Ohio who will be deployed to Afghanistan on July 13th. Thank God for those like him and our other servicemen an servicewomen!

  • Skywatch_NC May 30, 2011

    Bring our men and women home, out of unwinnable wars we have no business in...before we have more we have to memorialize..

    So a war on terrorists after what happened 9/11/01 ...we have no business in ...?

  • MrX-- May 30, 2011

    I heard a DJ at a campground this weekend prattle on between songs about how this is a day to "honor our men and women in uniform" and that it was the "Official start of summer."

    It is sad that people don't know what the holiday is about.

  • Just the facts mam May 30, 2011

    A great big THANK YOU to everyone in the military who protect and have protected the rest of us in America!

  • legallywacko May 30, 2011

    To all who have served and all that are serving now we thank you for all you have done and we pray for our counrty from a greatful family

  • heelbilly May 30, 2011

    Bring our men and women home, out of unwinable wars we have no business in...before we have more we have to memorialize..

  • delilahk2000 May 30, 2011


  • Skywatch_NC May 30, 2011

    Semper Fi and thank you to all our servicemen and servicewomen and for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in the name of Freedom.

  • ncguy May 30, 2011

    I want to thank all that have served and fallen for the greatest country in the world.

    God bless you all and hope everyone comes home.