By Glenn Nakadate, A Pebble in Boulder City
An organization is trying to set aside one full day for Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, which is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service (see www.usmemorialday.org). They feel that since Memorial Day has become part of a three-day weekend holiday, people are more easily distracted from the spirit and meaning of the day.
I was in Israel in early May, when suddenly at 11 a.m., a siren sounded for two minutes and everyone stopped whatever they were doing and stood at attention until the siren ceased. All traffic stopped, and occupants came out of their cars to stand at attention. Memorial Day started the evening before, when a siren sounded for one minute with all traffic stopping and everyone standing at attention, but I was indoors in my hotel room and did not witness this. You can see what happens at http://tinyurl.com This is an extremely moving experience.
A U.S. resolution was passed in 2000 to help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day by asking all Americans at 3 p.m. local time “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps.’ ”
Perhaps our town of Boulder City could start a tradition like Israel has and have it spread throughout the country. Heavy advertising beginning in early May to promote the idea would be needed so everyone would be informed of this plan. Signs at both highway entrances could be posted so visitors would be aware of what will happen.
The suggestion is to have sirens sound at 2:59 p.m. and then at exactly 3 p.m., “Taps” could be sounded. Everyone would stand at attention and traffic would stop. For safety reasons, passengers would remain in their cars until the tradition gets established. The event should be limited to just the main area of Boulder City until it becomes a well-known tradition again for safety concerns. The main highways would not be involved at the beginning.
This would be a compromise to instill the remembrance of Memorial Day but still not disrupt the traditional long holiday weekend for other activities.
Our active veterans groups such as the American Legion and VFW do have ceremonies at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery, but to have everyone spend just a few minutes honoring the service personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice should not be too much to ask. If you agree, you might contact our mayor and members of city council.
Glenn Nakadate is a resident of Boulder City.