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The true meaning of Memorial Day

Tribune Staff • May 26, 2018 at 2:00 PM

For many, Memorial Day is celebrated as a day off work; a chance to grill out with families and enjoy the beautiful May weather. 

Often forgotten is the true meaning of Memorial Day — a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces.

We asked several veterans from the American Legion in Grand Haven to share what the day means to them. Here’s what they had to say:

Harold Weaver

Memorial Day means to me to never forget the veterans before us and the veterans who are serving now, and the jobs they’re doing, everything they’re doing. Never forget how important their job is. 

Walt Pedersen

A time to remember that the freedoms that we enjoy in this country, if you get right down to it, are not free, and remembering those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. They gave all. The Bible says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens, military men and women, went overseas and gave their life to protect the people they didn’t even know. It’s time to remember that and honor their memory. 

Phil Smith

It has a lot of significance for me, because my family is military oriented, my grandfather was in World War I, my dad was in World War II and Korea, and I was in Vietnam and the Gulf War. The camaraderie that brings us together Monday for the parade then back here for some fun. 

Garrett Veihl

Memorial Day is a very solemn day we pay tribute to all those who gave it all. A thank you to their families for the sacrifices they made to go off to war, whichever one it was. The only way that we can pay tribute to those who went before us. It’s an honor. I come from a military family — father served in World War II, two brothers in Vietnam, me in the Navy for 20 years, my sister in the Navy for 10 years, three nephews served. We as a family take Memorial Day as one of the most sacred days we have. It’s a day we can say thank you to those who gave the ultimate price. It’s not just a day to party and have a good time — it’s a time to remember. 

Leo DeGram

I had four brothers who went to World War II and they all came home safe and sound. I served in Germany for four years and I came home. I’m very happy I could serve my country in that way, along with my brothers. All the other guys who serve, especially for those who did not come back and gave their lives for the freedom we have today, I just praise the Lord for that.

Thiel Taylor

Memorial Day is a day that all veterans share a common cause, and that is the love of our country, the love of our people and the love of our God above. Our families are always second only to God. Our family is our endeavor for life. 

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