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As I write this blog entry, Memorial Day 2010 is behind us. Take a look at Tuesday’s edition of The Republican-Herald and you’ll find that many Schuylkill Countians gathered to observe and reflect on the day’s true meaning.

Among those gathered were a number of youngsters, from kindergarten to high school seniors. They marched in parades. They read essays. They stood at attention as the national anthem was played and Old Glory was raised.

I attended two ceremonies in Schuylkill Haven due to my daughter’s involvement with Daisy Girl Scouts. There was a flag-raising ceremony at 8 a.m. on Parkway for Boy and Girl Scouts, and a parade at 10:30 a.m. that was followed by a Memorial Day program.

Mayor Gary Hess spoke at the 8 a.m. gathering, noting that Memorial Day isn’t just a day off from school or a day for cookouts and swimming like many tend to think. It is a day to remember those who have served our country and have gone before us — particularly those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to keep our country free. He shared an essay written by a third-grader about the day’s meaning. It was impressive, to say the least.

I also think it’s important that today’s youngsters know what Memorial Day is all about. Unfortunately, some don’t know its true meaning.

I asked Amber a few days ago if she knew what Memorial Day was all about, and she responded — and I’m paraphrasing here — that it is a day to remember “the people in the Army who died.”

Close enough, I thought, and not a bad answer for a kindergartner. I told her that it’s a day to remember the men and women who served in not just the Army, but the Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and Reserves. I asked her if she knows anyone in our family who served, and she began to name her great-grandfather, a great-uncle and an uncle who is now in the Navy. I told her about others in our family, including a great-uncle who lost his life in the Korean War.

It was hot outside as the speeches were made and musical selections played, but Amber did well listening to the activity, including the guest speaker, Heather Strouse. She is a 1997 Schuylkill Haven Area High School graduate and a commissioned officer in the Marine Corps.

Dressed in her military uniform, Heather mentioned during her speech how important attending Memorial Day services in her hometown became to her over the years, starting with her participation as a Girl Scout.

Before we left, I took Amber’s picture with Heather, who was more than gracious to pose with her. It will be something for her to remember from her participation in her first Memorial Day parade.

Thank you, Heather. And thank you to all of our veterans and service men and women who do and have done so much for our great nation.