"Memorial Day is different than our other patriotic holidays. On this day, we turn our hearts and our thoughts specifically to those who never came home. America has a long tradition of honoring those heroes, to make sure their sacrifice and the loss felt by their families is never forgotten.
"More than a million lives have been lost in combat through our brief history as a country, and we have them to thank for much of what we hold dear today - not least of which are our freedoms. In America, we enjoy the freedom to speak our minds, to elect our leaders, to worship as we please, and to love whom we choose. These freedoms and many more came at a price paid over the years, paid on battlefields across the globe, and paid by those brave souls who took up arms to protect our country.
"The red poppy is considered the emblem of Memorial Day. It would spring from the ground after fierce fighting on the European lines during World War One. It is a symbol of beauty in the midst of destruction. It is a symbol of what can come after so much is lost. In 1918, a poem was written about the flowers by Moina Michael. Her words are beautiful, and I would like to share an excerpt of them with everyone today:
'We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead.'
While we know that our words will not alter the grief of those who have lost a loved one, we wish to say this: we are grateful, we remember, and we will live better lives to honor their service. We are surrounded now by a quiet enemy, one that requires sacrifices from everyone in our community. And when we think of those who have laid down their lives for us, our daily sacrifices to protect one another from harm are put into context. We can feel proud, when we do our small part to protect the lives of those in our community, that we are honoring the precious gift of freedom given to us by those who fought for our country."
The annual Memorial Day Ceremony for the public normally held at the Veterans Memorial Garden in Antelope Park will be prerecorded and aired on LNKTV three times Monday, May 25 - 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. The program will include a reading of the names of Lancaster County veterans who have died in the past year.
LNKTV, the City's government access channel, can be viewed on ALLO channel 2; Spectrum channel 1300; and Kinetic channel 1005. The ceremony will also be available on demand at LNKTVcity.lincoln.ne.gov and YouTube.com/LNKTVcity. It will also be shared on the Veterans Memorial Gardens Facebook page at Facebook.com/LNKVeteransGarden.
The event is presented by the Lincoln Memorial Day Observance Association in cooperation with the Veterans Memorial Garden Advisory Council. For more information about the Veterans Memorial Garden, visit parks.lincoln.ne.gov.
In lieu of community celebrations statewide, the Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs will present an all-day salute to veterans Monday, May 25. NET Television will livestream the observance at the State Capitol Rotunda from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. More information is available at veterans.nebraska.gov.
All government offices will be closed Monday in observance of the national holiday. Flags are to be flown at half-staff until noon May 25, 2020 in observance of Memorial Day and to honor victims of the coronavirus pandemic.