Remembering our fallen heroes on Memorial Day weekend

The following editorial has been updated.

This weekend is the unofficial start to summer with BBQs, pool parties and summer trips all commencing. The annual 100-mile yard sale is also a local favorite. But we hope you’ll consider the real meaning of the holiday.

Memorial Day became an official federal holiday in 1971, but its origins date back to a period of time after the Civil War when it was known as Decoration Day. Considered one of our patriotic holidays, its focus is on the ones who paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of this country.

There are several cermonial events on the local calendar. One of our favorites is the Avenue of Flags ceremony at 8 a.m. Monday at Cape County Park North. Thirty new flags will be added and be flown all weekend. Saturday is the sixth annual Carry the Load March to the River. Participants will meet between 8 and 9 a.m. at the pavilion in downtown Cape Girardeau, and the walk will start at 9:30 a.m. at Cape County Park North. The event honors the sacrifices of military, firefighters, police and first-responders. The Jackson Municipal Band will host its Memorial Day Concert at 9 a.m. Monday near the courthouse.

There are a number of other events this weekend that were previewed in Thursday’s edition and online at semissourian.com. We hope you consider them and how you can personally set aside time to remember the sacrifice of our fallen heroes.

You can read more about Memorial Day and some of our local heroes in a special Memorial Day section of this weekend’s Southeast Missourian.

We’re forever grateful to the men and women in uniform who layed down their lives on behalf of this country.