Blaine's Bulletin: Memorial Day 2023

Across Missouri this weekend, families and friends will be having barbeques, attending sports tournaments, perhaps heading to the lake for some fishing or boating, and students celebrate the school year coming to a close. It’s always an exciting weekend across our state as life for many Missourians shifts into summer mode. But it’s critical we don’t forget what the word “memorial” means. This day is a tribute to the men and women of our military who gave their lives in the name of freedom, and we’re memorializing them and the incredible sacrifice they made for this country.

This year, the Third District will be playing a special part in the observance of Memorial Day in Washington, D.C. The South Callaway High School Bulldog Pride Marching Band will represent not only our district, but our entire state at the 2023 National Memorial Day Parade that goes right down Constitution Avenue in our nation’s capital. The Callaway County Sheriff’s office sent the band off to Washington, D.C. on Thursday along with Ameren bucket trucks displaying a big American flag to wish them good luck. This is a huge honor and I’m very proud to have these 50 Missouri students representing our area on the national stage. The parade begins at 1:00pm CT on Monday, May 29th. It will be broadcast live, so if you’d like to tune in and cheer on the Bulldogs from our state you can watch here:

On Monday, America will take a collective moment to pause and remember the men and women who gave their lives so we could all live in freedom. This national holiday started out as “Decoration Day” in the wake of the Civil War. Because the Civil War sadly claimed so many American lives, the first national cemeteries were established and the first Decoration Day was held on May 30, 1868 to decorate the many graves with flowers. On the inaugural Decoration Day, General James Garfield led 5,000 participants in decorating the graves of 20,000 soldiers. Late May was very practically chosen because it’s when most flowers nationwide have bloomed, and Americans across the country could participate in this solemn tradition. Decoration Day officially became “Memorial Day,” and the last Monday in May was made a federal holiday by Congress in 1971.

While the origin of the day was to remember those lost in the Civil War, it evolved over the years into an opportunity to remember servicemembers who died in all wars our nation has fought, including World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, the Korean War and the wars on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan. Americans are only able to live in freedom because these brave servicemembers put country before themselves and fought for it. We’re unbelievably fortunate to live in the most free country in the world thanks to our military. They and their families sacrifice so much to keep not just their friends, families and neighbors safe, but complete strangers across the country who they will never meet. Some of them come home from deployments, and some do not. There will be births of babies, graduations, weddings and everything in between that these heroes won’t be able to attend. We’ll never be able to repay the families of the heroes who make the ultimate sacrifice for the United States, and I hope you’ll join me in taking time this weekend to remember the servicemembers we’ve lost and the families they’ve left behind. We owe them more than words can say.