Memorial Day weekend unofficially ushers in the start of summer each year.
It is a weekend for picnics, family gatherings and lots of outdoor activities. Some will break out their campers for the first outing of the year, others will stay closer to home.
Those activities are great, and we all will have fun participating in our favorites, but sometime this weekend we need also to stop and remember the sacrifice paid on our behalf by soldiers who have given their lives so we could celebrate today.
Memorial Day can trace its roots all the way back to the Civil War, when residents would, in the spring, gather at the graves of Civil War soldiers and decorate their plots with spring flowers.
The Civil War took a huge toll on our nation, and the casualties to both sides during the years it was fought were horrific in number. For many, this simple act of kindness and remembrance not only was a sweet gesture, it also was therapeutic in helping heal the deep wounds left from the war.
As the years progressed, the tradition continued not only at the graves of Civil War veterans, but also the veterans of subsequent wars our country found itself involved in.
In 1971, Congress officially established the last Monday of May as the day of celebration. Monday Memorial Day services will be held at 9 a.m. at the Alpena County Courthouse. Following that, a parade of veterans will head to Little Flanders Field, for another presentation.
We hope area residents enjoy this first weekend of summer. As you do, stop as well this weekend and remember the sacrifices of others.