By Brent E. Frazier, mayor
City of Pelican Rapids 

There are currently three holidays for military veterans. These are Armed Forces Day on the third Saturday in May, Memorial Day on the last Monday in May, and Veteran’s Day on November 11th of each year.

To many, Armed Forces Day was recently recognized on Saturday, May 20. Armed Forces Day is an annual observance which is dedicated to the brave men and women who are currently serving in the six main military branches: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, and Coast Guard. 

The various reserve forces of these six military branches are Army National Guard, United States Army Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, and the United States Naval Reserve.

Unfortunately, there is little recognition or fanfare on Armed Forces Day. So when you should see someone who is currently serving in the Armed Forces, please tell them, “thank you!” 

On Monday, May 29, millions of people will gather at various locations throughout the United States in observance of Memorial Day.

Public invited for Pelican Memorial Day program

A Memorial Day Program will be held that same day at the Pelican Rapids High School Fine Arts Auditorium at 310 South Broadway in Pelican Rapids, which begins at 10 a.m. 

People from all walks of life and age groups will gather in solemn tribute to honor the men and women who have sacrificed their lives, and also those Missing In Action, while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

It is a public service in which we gather with one another to give smiles, handshakes, and hugs that can also lead to tears.

These are tears of sadness as we think and try to imagine what those who “gave it all” must have endured, which was usually in a faraway land. They toiled, stood, and fought for the freedoms that we enjoy each and every day in our free land. 

Memorial Day’s roots 

date to post-Civil War

Memorial Day was established on May 05, 1868, after the Civil War had ended. Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day as a time for the people of this nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. 

We, too, in the Pelican Rapids community will visit the many area cemeteries to pay respect for not only family members, but for all military veterans whose grave marker or headstone signifies their military service. 

We also need to remember the Gold Star Mothers of the Pelican area. These are the mothers who have lost a son or daughter that were serving on military duty status to protect our freedoms.

The loss of a child is something that most of us cannot comprehend. Although it does not lessen the pain, it can be assuring that these lost sons and daughters died an admirable death in defense of our country. 

Pelican area has had 19 Gold Star Mothers—who lost children to war 

Over the many decades and as a result of the many wars, there have been 19 Gold Star Mothers in the Pelican Rapids community. These are mothers who should never be forgotten and who should always be shown our love and gratitude for what they have suffered and sacrificed.

Yes, Monday, May 29, will be the day that we gather to annually recognize, by word and music, the respect and honor of those who “gave it all.” 

Although Memorial Day can also be a day of rest, B-B-Q, and outdoor activities, first and foremost, in our minds, it should be the day to pay tribute to our fallen heroes and heroines of the Armed Forces.

If you have never attended a Memorial Day Program, please give it a try as we will gather, observe, remember, acknowledge, honor, and pay respect to those brave men and women who gave their lives, so we can continue to live in freedom. 

Therefore, we do hope to see you on May 29, 10 a.m., at the Pelican Fine Arts Auditorium for the Pelican Rapids Memorial Day Program.