James Gilbert is director of the AFL-CIO Union Veterans Council.
Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer. Many Americans will enjoy a day off with family and friends, perhaps at a barbecue or baseball game. Those times and the memories that are created are precious and should be celebrated. Since 1868, this holiday has served as a moment when Americans remember the men and women of the military who lost their lives to preserve our freedom.
In that spirit, I ask that you take time this weekend to do something with your family to pass along the tradition of remembrance. All across the country, there will be ceremonies at many of the 131 Department of Veterans Affairs cemeteries. The National Cemetery Administration honors veterans with final resting places in national shrines and with lasting tributes that commemorate their service to our nation. To find out where and when a wreath-laying is happening in your area, go to the National Cemetery Administration’s website.
Since 1971, the AFL-CIO, along with the Fire Fighters (IAFF), International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) and Ironworkers unions, has supported No Greater Love, the only nonprofit, humanitarian, patriotic organization that has brought families of our fallen together to share their grief and celebrate the lives of their loved. No Greater Love initiated the National Moment of Remembrance in 1997 to honor the men and women who gave their lives for us. Congress made it the law of the land in 2000. No Greater Love asks all Americans to pause for a moment of respect for our fallen heroes at 3 p.m. local time, wherever they are on Memorial Day, and to make a commitment to live honoring America’s fallen every day.
The unions and trade departments of the Union Veterans Council wish you and your family the best this Memorial Day as we honor the service and sacrifice of America’s heroes.