Spinal Column: Senate Memorial Day ceremony will pay respect to those who gave their lives

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By Sen. Mike Kowall
15th Senate District

Every spring, on the last Monday of May, people all across the United States observe Memorial Day. It is the day we remember those who died in active military service.

I encourage everyone to take some time on Memorial Day to consider the sacrifice of those who have given their lives in service to their country. One way you can pay respect is to visit a cemetery or memorial. You can place an American flag on the graves of soldiers in national cemeteries.

If you fly an American flag, you may raise it to the top of the staff and then solemnly lower it to the half-staff position until noon. The half-staff position is in remembrance of the more than one million men and women who have given their lives in service to our nation.

According to traditional observance, the flag is raised again to the top at noon, and along with it, the memory of those killed is raised by the living, who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain.

As in years past, in Michigan, on the Thursday before Memorial Day, a special Senate service will pay tribute to the Michigan servicemen and women who gave their lives in service to our country. The Senate Memorial Day ceremony is an important way to make sure their legacy of sacrifice is never taken for granted or forgotten.

This year’s Senate service is at 10 a.m. in the Michigan Capitol on Thursday, May 21. It marks the 21st anniversary of this solemn Senate observance.

I invite local veterans service organizations to post their colors at the 21st Annual Senate Memorial Day Service.

During the ceremony, senators will honor soldiers from their districts who died during the past 12 months. Families who lost loved ones will also be recognized.

This is an opportunity for veterans organizations to join those from across Michigan in honoring our fallen heroes. Posts are welcome to bring up to three flag bearers to display their colors on the Senate floor during the service. Please note that flag bearers will be standing for the duration of the ceremony, which will last approximately one hour.

Local veterans groups interested in participating in the ceremony should contact my office by May 18. My office can be reached at (866) 301-6515 or by sending an email to MKowall@senate.michigan.gov.

Men and women have given their lives for our freedom, and our nation remains strong today because of their sacrifice. We can never repay this debt. But let us do our best to honor their memory.

This column first appeared in the Spinal Column newsweekly. Senator Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, is the Michigan Senate majority floor leader. He serves the residents of the 15th Senate District, representing western Oakland County.