A Legislative Column by Assemblyman Will Barclay
Memorial Day is an American tradition. For generations, our country has set aside this day to honor brave men and women who have fought and died to protect our American freedoms and God-given rights.
Civil War veteran and Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes eloquently said of Memorial Day: “Every year in the full tide of spring, at the height of the symphony of flowers and love and life, there comes a pause and, through the silence, we hear the lonely pipe of death.”
What a truth there is to that quote.
I’ve seen it and felt it firsthand since I can remember, as I’m sure many of you have, too.
Locally, veterans take great care and pride in standing in salute as names are read, prayers said, and patriotic songs played at many local events throughout the area.
Community members prepare for the day by setting flags out at the cemeteries, planting flowers by the gravesides, and organizing parades.
Many plan these ceremonies and events months ahead of time, invite the larger community, to properly honor those who have served.
I’m always impressed, humbled, and amazed by those who give so much to make sure these important traditions are carried out.
These ceremonies are a testament to our country’s and community’s integrity.
In Central New York, we take distinct pride in Memorial Day.
Our nearby neighbor to the south, Waterloo, NY, is credited as the birthplace of the holiday.
In 1866, people there organized and decorated their village in honor of those who died during the Civil War.
By the end of the 19th Century, local Memorial Day observances were being held throughout the nation and a national holiday was born.
I hope you and your families enjoy your Memorial Day weekend and are also able to take a moment to remember, honor, and thank those who have served our great country.
Our freedoms were not free.
They were defended and earned.
We will never be able to pay them back for what they gave but we can pay our respects to the ones who’ve gone before and exercise our freedoms with thought and gratitude in simple, American traditions.
If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office.
My office can be reached by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185. You can also friend me, Assemblyman Barclay, on Facebook.