Memorial Day is more than just a day off from work. It’s a day to honor veterans who died protecting the U.S. Here are just a few of the many memorials you can visit to commemorate these brave men and women.
Reserve ground burials for the ‘most sacred groups of eligible veterans’: Our view
As a boy growing up in Miami, Sergio Abad yearned to escape the dereliction of his childhood, a mother addicted to heroin, shuttling from one relative to the next. He later found discipline, purpose and a sense of belonging as a paratrooper in theÂ Army Airborne. When the soldier went to war in 2007, he had already made clear that if the worst happened, his final resting place should be Arlington National Cemetery, consecratedÂ ground that lies across the Potomac River from the nation’s capital.
Abad got his sad wish. At the age of 21, after he was killed in one of the bloodiest battles of the Afghanistan War in the mountain village of Wanat, his ashes wereÂ inurned at Arlington alongside the remains ofÂ 400,000 kept thereÂ for eternity.
The Department of Veterans Affairs runs scores of other military cemeteries across the country.Â But Arlington, with its vaunted history dating to the Civil War, is rapidly fillingÂ up.
Burials and inurnments continue at the pace of 27 to 30 each weekday. Ten every Saturday. There are more than 7,000 ceremonies annually for active duty servicemembers, veterans, retirees and their families,Â a pace that will leave Arlington full to capacity in about 25 years. Those who fought beside Abad, many of them wounded and decorated for valor âÂ as well as 2.5 million other Americans who served in the nation’s mostÂ recent wars âÂ face beingÂ denied the option Abad earned by dying in combat.
That would be patently unfair, particularly for a generation that in many ways sacrificed as much or more than their predecessors. As members of America’s first…