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‘Day off’ should honor fallen military

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COMMAND MESSAGE

By The Staff

By BRIG. GEN. DON CAMPBELL

Fort Knox Commander

Decoration Day began on May 5, 1868, to commemorate the fallen Soldiers of the Civil War.

On that day, Gen. John Logan declared in General Order No. 11 that:

The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.

“In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts

and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

This is a small excerpt from General Order No. 11. If you have not had an opportunity to read the entire thing, I suggest it. It’s an eloquently-written piece of literature.

These days we recognize the last Monday in May as the national holiday. While established to recognize our fallen military personnel, many communities also use this holiday to officially begin the summer season with the opening of parks and swimming pools.

Perhaps it is a reflection of the accomplishment of our armed forces that Americans do not solely reflect on the holiday as a time to honor our fallen Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines but one in which we enjoy a day off with family and friends.

Freedom is great and our military guarantees it with the sacrifice of our sons and daughters in uniform.

Every year on Memorial Day, Fort Knox opens its gates to the public so they may visit the 120 known cemeteries on post. Most of these cemeteries date back prior to the beginning of this post when the land was privately owned.

Most of the cemeteries are near training ranges and, for the safety of the visitors, we ask that they schedule visits on Memorial Day. Visiting hours will be from 8 a.m. -3 p.m.

A Memorial Day ceremony is planned at the Court of Honor on Brooks Field starting at 11:30 a.m. I urge you all to attend and honor our fallen comrades.

Whatever you choose to do Monday on this important holiday, I ask that you take time at 3 p.m., no matter what time zone you’re in, to join in the

National Moment of Remembrance.

The Commission on Remembrance, established in 2000 by Congress, designed the program to unite the nation in a moment of silence. Its purpose is to encourage Americans to honor those who died for our freedoms by giving something back to our country in their memory.

Each year at 3 p.m. on Memorial Day, Americans unite in a National Moment of Remembrance which honors America’s fallen and their families.

For example, 200 Amtrak trains blast their whistles, more than 500,000 Major League Baseball fans pause during a game, and countless other participants across America make a vow to remember.

We all would do well to heed the words of Abraham Lincoln, who said, “Any nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure.”

Memorial Day weekend is a popular weekend to travel, swim, ride your motorcycle, and enjoy boating. I ask that you enjoy these activities safely.

Don’t allow alcohol to interfere in safe enjoyment of the holiday and keep

your good judgment in

the activities you join.

Be safe, you are important to us.

Forge the Thunderbolt!

Want to respond to this column or suggest a topic? E-mail knox.commanderforu m@conus.army.mil. n