This is Memorial Day, a legal holiday. Almost all government offices – local, state, and federal – are closed as are banks and other financial institutions, and there is no mail delivery today.
Under proclamations by President Joe Biden and the 50 governors, American and state flags will fly at half-staff until noon, then return to full-staff at noon. The National Moment of Remembrance, one minute of silence, begins at 3 p.m. local time.
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts will join ceremonies at Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue and Memorial Park in Omaha to honor and remember the brave men and women who have given their lives in defense of our freedoms. He says “the liberties we enjoy have been secured for us by the courageous service of generations of patriots.”
Ricketts also asks all Nebraskans to remember two of other fallen heroes, Nebraska law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in the past 2 years.
State Trooper Jerry Smith died in a traffic accident while on patrol in the Panhandle in 2019 while Lincoln police investigator Mario Herrera was fatally wounded serving a warrant last September. Ricketts says they need to be remembered and honored.
Nebraska U-S Senator Ben Sasse says Americans have purchased peace and freedom with blood for more than 2 centuries and that “a single day is an insufficient memorial to their ultimate sacrifice.”
Still, Sasse says “we set this day apart to recommit ourselves to daily gratitude (and) especially to teach our kids what it means to live free and in a manner worthy of this tremendous blessing.”
The observance of Memorial Day began after the Civil War when veterans organizations would decorate the graves of former comrades on the last day of May.
“Decoration Day” was later expanded to remember soldiers who died in any U-S war or military action, but the name Memorial Day – first used in 1882 – became the more common usage after World War II.
It was formalized by Congress in 1967 and the date was fixed a year later as the last Monday in May as part of a federal law creating several 3-day holiday weekends