Column: Memorial Day a chance to prove your gratitude

Farm Forum

On Memorial Day on Monday, we honor and remember those who have spent time on this earth and who are no longer with us: our family, our friends and our fallen warriors.

We usually try to set aside a little time during the three-day weekend to place flowers on graves or attend cemetery services. The rest of the weekend is spent relaxing or being with family. That is important as well. It is good to appreciate both the dead and the living.

But there is so much more we can do. So much that needs to be done.

There are several veterans organizations barely able to stay afloat. Nonprofit organizations in general often have to struggle to find money to keep their doors open, and most of them are worthy and necessary. But none more worthy than such organizations as the Veterans of Foreign Wars or the American Legion.

Nationwide, many veterans organizations have had to close their doors. Reasons vary: Older veterans are dying off or are physically unable to participate and younger veterans are busy raising families. Money is tight for everyone.

But where else can a veteran go to find support and understanding when the memories of war return, or when he or she is feeling lonely? Just as those in recovery need one another, as grieving parents need one another, so to do veterans need one another. They need each other as we needed them to protect our country, our families and our wonderful, free way of life.

No one is asking you to launch a fundraiser — although that would undoubtedly be appreciated.

But if everyone sent a small donation to their local chapter — even just a dollar — our veterans won’t feel left out in the cold.

They were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. Now is our chance to prove our gratitude.

Gretchen Mayer is an editorial board member and special sections coordinator at the American News. Email her at