To many, Memorial Day is just the first day of summer vacation. It’s the day the swimming pool opens in the local community and neighbors clean up the grill and have the season’s first BBQ. Between now and Labor Day is the time for outdoor fun. If asked what we are supposed to remember, how many wouldn’t know?
Memorial Day is a time for remembering all those patriots who have borne the burden of military service and made the ultimate sacrifice for this country. The holiday, originally called Decoration Day, was established as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. So on this somber occasion that is what many of us shall do.
However, others don’t know anyone personally who died in war, as only about 1% of the current U.S. population have served in the military. More than you might think don’t even know anyone who has served in the military or they aren’t aware that people they do know have served.
There is also another group of Americans who experience Memorial Day. This is the group that may not know anyone who served in war but they still remember and honor those who died. They may attend a ceremony, volunteer to lay flowers or hang a wreath, buy a red poppy pin, or just spend some time thinking about the blessings this country provides, and being thankful they are protected by the blanket of security our military affords.
In Michigan, a group of about 3,000 members participate in the Michigan Veterans Community Action Teams (MiVCAT) Project. These 3,000 consist of the two groups that remember. They remember today, and they remember the other 364 days each year. Not only do they remember, but they dedicate their professional and personal lives to ensuring the 660,000 Veterans throughout Michigan and the families of all Veterans receive the benefits, services, and support they need and deserve.
Whether you are a Veteran, a service provider, or someone else who will be observing Memorial Day, thank you for remembering those who have given their lives that we might live safe and free.
If you would like to remember and serve Veterans every day, join your community’s VCAT. How? Contact Michigan VCAT Project at 1-877-776-5187 or one of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency’s Regional Coordinators. Veterans needing support call 1-800-MICHVET for more information.