On Memorial Day we remember those who gave their life for this country

Jacob Wiegand, Southeast Missourian

Memorial Day weekend is considered the unofficial kickoff to summer, but, more importantly, the holiday is an opportunity to remember those in the armed services who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

This year is different in that many of the normal celebrations have been canceled due to COVID-19. However, the Missouri State Veterans Cemetery Directors will honor the fallen on Monday and lower flags to half-staff. And we can all do our part in honoring their legacy.

What was originally referred to as Decoration Day, the holiday was expanded after World War I to honor all who have died in American wars. The fourth Monday in May was declared a national holiday in 1971.

One of our favorite Memorial Day memories is the 2012 speech by former federal judge Stephen Limbaugh Sr. The speech is a reminder of what America's founding fathers sacrificed for this country.

Though not related to Memorial Day, a popular event that takes place on this weekend each year is the 100-mile yard sale between Jackson and Kennett. If you're planning to participate, please be safe. Watch for increased traffic and pedestrians on foot, and remember to social distance to prevent the spread of COVID-19. When social distancing is not possible, wear a mask.

Enjoy the weekend, and remember the reason for the holiday. We're grateful to the men and women who gave their life in the name of American freedom.