It’s Memorial Day

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

Flags are flying at half-staff until noon, when they’ll go to the top. They’ve been at half-staff since Friday to honor the victims of the coronavirus pandemic as well as to observe Memorial Day.

Governor Pete Ricketts, in his Memorial Day message, offered a reminder that the day is to remember the heroes who’ve made sacrifices to protect the freedoms we enjoy and whose memory lives on and won’t ever be forgotten.

Ricketts said the holiday is being marked differently than usual due to the coronavirus and he invited Nebraskans to watch what’s being described as Nebraska’s largest Memorial Day celebration with the fewest people present in the room, an observance live streamed on veterans.nebraska.gov

The program began at 7 am MT when a candle was lit and ends at 7 pm when the candle is extinguished, both acts done by the parents of Army Corporal Matthew Alexander of Gretna, killed May 6, 2007, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle in Iraq

Gold Star Mother Monica Alexander lit the candle and Gold Star Father Mel Alexander will put it out.

Ricketts also said his family joins him in wishing everyone a fun and relaxing holiday weekend while continuing to practice physical distancing and driving safely

((Pete Ricketts

South Dakota Gov Kristi Noem had a more traditional message, calling Memorial Day “an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that the United States remains the greatest country in the world.

Noem said those who’ve given their lives can receive no great honor than for the living to “thank them for their sacrifice, hold them in our memories, and fight hard to preserve the freedoms that they died to defend.”

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.

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