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City Beat: Remember The Reason We Observe Memorial Day



Editor Paul Osborne

MONDAY is Memorial Day and it actually falls on May 30th — the traditional day for the holiday. As indicated in this week’s “Scrapbook” about the history of Memorial Day (see pages 4 an 5 of the online and print editions of the Decatur Tribune), back in 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill, which moved three holidays from their traditional dates to a specified Monday in order to create the convenient three-day weekend. The holidays included Washington’s Birthday, Veterans Day and Memorial Day. The change moved Memorial Day from its traditional May 30th date to the last Monday in May. The law took effect at the federal level in 1971. In 1978, Veterans Day was changed back to its traditional date on November 11.

     Unfortunately, Memorial Day, a federal holiday for honoring and mourning the military personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces, did not receive the same respect. For the past half century attempts have been made to change Memorial Day back to May 30th for every year, but those attempts have not been successful. Americans have to get that long weekend and, its apparent, that many do not know why the holiday exists — except for a day off to grill, etc., for their “convenience”. I think what bothers me is the advertising for “Memorial Day Sales” or expressions to have a “Happy Memorial Day”.

     • MANY YEARS ago, a local businessman refused to use Memorial Day to promote his business — when several of his competitors had “Memorial Day Sales” or “Memorial Day Specials”. When we discussed his reasoning for not using the day and weekend to advance his company, he told me that he felt the day was for honoring those who gave their lives in the service of this nation — and not to offer special bargains of his product to people. “That’s just not right,” he told me. “That’s not what Memorial Day is about.”

     I’ve always remembered his words when Memorial Day draws near each year. Memorial Day is about “honoring”, not about “sales pitching”.

     • DIVIDED? My recent City Beat column about how the primary race between U. S. Rep. Rodney Davis and U. S. Rep. Mary Miller in the 15th Congressional District (which includes part of Macon County), shows a “clear division in the Republican Party”, brought the following response from Dennis Herrington who wrote: “Do you think the Democrat Party is the same as it was over a decade ago? The far left is destroying the traditional Democrat Party!”

     Although the focus of my column’s comments were about the 15th Congressional District Republican candidates, I think it is apparent that the far left and far right are playing roles in the 2022 campaign for both parties.

     • THE NUMBER of political advertisements I’ve been receiving in the mail at my home is mind-boggling and, considering the nasty messages about opponents they bring, are also stomach-turning! For some reason, some of the advertisements are addressed to my wife, some to me and some to both of us. I’m not sure what the reasoning is for that mailing but I know the nastiness of some of the advertising is turning off a lot of people I know. I can’t believe that such negative advertising works!!! I don’t want to know why I shouldn’t vote for a candidate. I want to know why I should vote for a candidate.

     • ONE OF the issues that hasn’t been discussed a lot in congressional campaigns is more parental control in children’s education. When I talked with Regan Deering and Jesse Reising, Republican candidates for Congress in the new 13th Congressional District, (which includes part of Macon County) that subject was part of the conversation although not as much as inflation and violence — and both commented on parental involvement in children’s education policies.

     Also, Deering had one of her platform planks in an ad published in this newspaper last week as “Pro-Parent”. With so much impacting the lives of citizens today, including the stressful cost of about everything, including gasoline, education issues do not seem to have the traction of more immediate concerns, but that could change as campaigns move forward past the primary and head for the general election.

     • BEST WISHES to the City of Decatur’s Neighborhood Inspections Manager Susan Kretsinger who is retiring after 40 years of service to the community. Thank you, Susan, and enjoy your well-deserved retirement.

     • NEWLY-CONFIRMED cases of COVID-19 in Macon County are experiencing an uptick the past few weeks. Nationwide, the COVID infection rate is increasing at a high rate. Be aware and be careful.

     • I JOIN Brian Byers on WSOY’s Byers & Co. every Thursday morning at 7:00 for the City Hall Insider.

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