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Memorial Day: More than just summer

Every year, on the last Monday of May, Bonnie Brown gets up earlier than normal to work in the cemetery.

Memorial Day is one of the most important days in the United States. It is the day to remember the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces.

Many people place an American flag in national cemeteries as a show of respect.

Bonnie Brown, clerk of the Taylor Cemetery, one of the oldest cemeteries in Idaho Falls, said every Memorial Day they display 50 American flags throughout the three-day weekend.

“We start it on a Friday, and then we take them down early morning Tuesday,” Brown said. “We also display the military flags for each of the branches.”

The branches of the military include the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marine Corps.

“Many floral tributes are presented with so many families,” Brown said. “It’s one of the busiest weekends in the whole year. The flowers remain for two weeks and then we take them down to assure that our cemetery stays clean.”

Sergio Soto, one of the field workers in the Fielding Memorial Cemetery, located on Yellowstone Highway, is busy during the holiday.

“The whole week we shut down to stay focused on the people and supporting everyone for when Memorial Day comes,” Soto said. “The flowers stay out for a week, then we start to pick everything up after Monday night.”

Soto said a lot of people from around the world come and see their family members. These family members travel far to remember the people they love most.

Darrel Homer, the post-commander for the American Legion Post 56 in Idaho Falls, said Memorial Day weekend is commonly thought of as the start of summer and a lot of families plan weekend getaways during that time, according to KID Newsradio.

“With the American Legion, … we take it as a time to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and time to our nation’s call to arms,” Homer said, according to KID Newsradio. “Those members who never actually had the chance to take their uniforms off, when they took the call to arms and went into harm’s way for our country.”

Homer said that some of their activities throughout Memorial Day weekend started in the middle of last week.

“We are placing flags on victims’ graves at Fielding Memorial Cemetery,” Homer said, according to KID Newsradio. “We will be assisting The Daughters of the American Revolution. The American Legion actually places flags on victims’ graves in Rose Hill Cemetery on Saturday morning.”

Each branch plays a unique role in the security of the United States, according to themilitaryspot.com.

“While they all work together to some extent, their purposes can be very different, and they can offer different jobs and specialties,” according to themilitaryspot.com. “In order to choose the best branch for your needs and interests, you must understand the differences between the five branches of military – Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, along with their reserve components.”

According to History.com, Memorial Day was known as Decoration Day, and originally honored only those who lost their lives while fighting in the Civil War.

“But during World War I, the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars,” History.com published.

According to Time magazine, Americans are legally required to observe a national moment of remembrance during Memorial Day. “In December of 2000, Congress passed the law requiring Americans to pause at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day to remember and honor the fallen.”

“The willingness of America’s veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude,” said Jeff Miller, an American politician, according to winona.edu.

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