Memorial Day lands on Monday, May 27, and the federal day of remembrance is to proudly honor our military men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in serving their country — it’s our duty as Americans to instill an obligation of country over self and that begins with the placing of U.S. flags at local veterans’ graves with residents of all ages taking part.

This is an opportunity to learn about the brave souls who gave their lives so we can thrive as a free nation.

Paying tribute to the fallen allows all of us to participate in keeping the spirit of these hometown heroes alive.

They’re more than names on a cemetery marker. They’re 1,600 strong Sunnyside-area patriots, who defended our freedom and reflected the very best of who we are as a community.

Their valor to serve was set forth by an obligation learned early on their life: Duty. Honor. Country.

These words are not just terms from a textbook or social media hash tags.

Armed forces personnel deserve better than an acknowledgement in passing as we heartily reflect upon their strength of character on this distinguished day when springtime flowers are in colorful bloom.

This day of remembrance need not be somber. It’s a time-honored tradition, which began after the Civil War more than 150 years ago.

Union Army Gen. John Logan initiated the custom with an order calling on the public to pay respect and decorate soldiers’ graves “with the choicest flowers of springtime.”

Vibrant Peony flowers throughout the Yakima Lower Valley bloom around this time of the year, and the community’s cherished placement of U.S. flags on grave sites is an honor our veterans deserve — There’s much to remember on Memorial Day — and to learn.

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