On Monday, May 27th, Americans will pay tribute to all the military men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and the freedom of others around the globe. Since 2001 alone, there have been three campaigns that have claimed the lives of 6,828 military men and women.
Memorial Day in the United States has roots in a long tradition of decorating soldiers’ graves with flowers, a practice that started before the American Civil War. Originally called Decoration Day, family members, friends, veterans’ groups, and volunteers continue to gather at cemeteries all over the country to pay tribute to those killed as a result of military conflict.
One such event will be held on Monday at the University of Phoenix when volunteers spell out “Their Legacy Lives on” using 15,000 American flags. The commemoration has been going on for 10 years and has grown with the help of dozens of volunteers from the surrounding area.
Sergeant Brian Ishmael, Director of campus Military and Veteran Affairs, spearheads the project. Ishmael outlined the extensive planning done for this event each year.
“We have over seventy volunteers who come out and help us out. It takes 6 months of planning and it takes 2 days to put this all out,” Sergeant Ishmael said in a recent interview.
“It’s an extremely proud moment…” Ishmael said. He served two tours of duty in Iraq and believes that programs like this not only pay tribute to those who died serving our country, but they also educate the public about the true meaning of Memorial Day.
Another special aspect of the commemoration happens after Memorial Day when the flags used in this event are sent to a nonprofit called Heroes to Hometowns. The flags are then placed on the graves of veterans throughout the state.
“This is personal,” Sergeant Ishmael said.
Take time this Memorial Day to remember those who gave their lives for our freedom.
Tom Fergus (@TomFergusFox10) | Twitter