Column: Observing Memorial Day

Column: Observing Memorial Day

Public invited to May 27 ceremony at Alexandria National Cemetery.



Memorial Day is about remembering those who died for our values to make our way of American life possible. This honoring of the memories of the fallen and the values for which they died is not limited to one day. It is a continuum in time, people and contributions.

In 1919, immediately after World War I, the founders of The American Legion saw four common values or pillars, as to why Americans so often answer their nation's call. In 2013, 84-years later, the American Legion, including Alexandria Post 24, continue to serve these values in honorable and tangible ways. The continuum of Post 24 Legionnaires includes a 90-year old WW II veteran and a 20-year old service member.

The chair of the National Cemetery Administration Advisory Committee, John A. Kelly, is our Memorial Day speaker at the Alexandria National Cemetery on Monday, May 27. He is a Post 24 member and my friend for 40 years. At the National Cemetery Administration and at Post 24, he serves the same values that he served in the Army. Other Post 24 members are parts of this continuum being the spouses, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of veterans.

Our first Post 24 Commander served in 1920. My term ends this year. Long after I am gone, veterans whom I know today will still serve their comrades, but also those veterans who came before them, through service to the American Legion pillars of veterans and veterans' rehabilitation, national security, Americanism and Children and Youth.

This continuum of time and people honoring the men and women who died for our values varies and changes over time. This generation, including members of Post 24, continues to step up to serve. And we continue to lose American heroes every day in Afghanistan and missions around the world. The loss to their families, friends, fellow service members and country is permanent. However, the American values that the Fallen and the living serve are also permanent. Memorial Day we remember the Fallen. We also remember the values for which they died.

You are invited to a Memorial Day ceremony on Monday, May 27, at the Alexandria National Cemetery beginning at 11 a.m. A reception open to all will follow at Post 24, 400 Cameron St. Take the ramp at the base of the flag pole to enter. And pause to read the plaque honoring Alexandrians who gave their lives in service.