The month of May is upon us. As we move towards that magical day of May 30, Memorial Day, we think of summer fun, school vacations and all those marvelous activities of the warm weather season. But, in this rush towards mirth, we forget Memorial Day. It seems like a lot of people have forgotten what this most solemn holiday on our national calendar means.
The Fourth of July is the day to party in the greatest nation on earth; but Memorial Day is the day to reflect on the cost of that party and a time to honor those who paid its price. Forty-six million people served in the uniform services of this nation since its founding. One million and one hundred ninety thousand people have died in all our wars to keep our flag flying. Despite these great sacrifices, an apathetic spirit has invaded our community and thrown our heritage on the ash heap of indifference.
Each year during the month of May, members of our various veterans organizations can be found outside cooperating businesses distributing poppies. The funds raised by this effort have been used since 1919 to directly underwrite programs for the welfare of veterans and military families.
Unfortunately, cooperating businesses have become scarcer each year. The big box stores have come into our community and are willing to take our citizens’ money, but because of corporate policy they can’t allow our vets 10 square feet on an outside sidewalk to distribute poppies. Fortunately, we have some patriotic independent business owners in North Brunswick who have granted us space. American Legion members will be found outside the ShopRite, Omega Diner, RossoPomodoro Restaurant, Wawa and Rutgers Liquors at various times during the month of May. Patronize these businesses and get your poppy, the symbol of honor and remembrance.
Richard A. Pender
Senior Vice Commander North Brunswick American Legion Post 459 North Brunswick