Memorial Day is not just a time for family get-togethers, barbecues, and celebrating the forthcoming summer season – it is a day of remembrance for those who have died for our country. Some towns and cities hold parades, some people visit and bestow flowers upon the graves of loved ones who have died in service, some pray, while others take a moment of silence to thank those who have sacrificed so much for us.
This Memorial Day, The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) will attend ceremonies around the country to honor the sacrifices of our nations troops and veterans. In New York, for example, IAVA member veterans and supporters will be gathering at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum at 11 a.m. The organization is encouraging those who can’t join it on the ground this Memorial Day to honor the fallen by donating to support IAVA’s fight to end new veteran unemployment; over 200,000 new veterans were out of work searching for jobs last month.
IAVA Founder and Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff said it is especially important to remember the fallen this year, as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan near their tenth year.
“Nearly 6,000 service members have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. We can never forget that. They, along with the over 1 million others who have given their lives in defense of our country in previous wars, will be remembered this weekend,” Paul said.
“For veterans of all generations, Memorial Day is a solemn time to remember those who made that ultimate sacrifice. As many Americans have barbecues and go to mattress sales, service members and veterans head to cemeteries to honor their fallen brothers and sisters. IAVA member veterans will be commemorating Memorial Day at Section 60, where Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are buried at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as at ceremonies around the country in cities like San Francisco, Houston, Pittsburgh and Chicago.
“The entire country was filled with pride after the death of Osama bin Laden a few weeks ago. We hope Americans will remember that feeling and sense of unity this weekend. With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan entering their tenth year, it is especially important this Memorial Day to honor the fallen by also supporting those who served alongside them. While veteran suicide and unemployment rates skyrocket, now is the time for all Americans to step up for this new generation of vets. Memorial Day provides an opportunity for the whole country to honor their sacrifices by showing them that we’ve got their backs.”
Let’s remember what Memorial Day is really about this weekend.
For more stories on genConnect:
- Paul Rieckhoff on the Death of Osama bin Laden
- Obama ’60 Minutes’ Interview on bin Laden, ‘Finally Getting Our Man’
- Osama bin Laden: How Do You Justify Feeling Good About Killing Someone?
- Why Osama bin Laden’s Death May Not Make Everyone Happy
- Public Mourning: The Pros and Cons of First-Hand Accounts of Loss
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